The Harlequin Theatre shut down after reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) was discovered in the venue, so the Christmas pantomime has moved to a big top tent in Memorial Park, Redhill.

Simon Bashford, who plays Madame Cheri Trifle in the panto, said it would have been “devastating” to lose the show.

He said he was “incredibly humbled” by the community’s efforts to save it.

The cast worked with Reigate and Banstead Borough Council to move the show in time for Christmas.

As a result, the 43 performances of Beauty and the Beast will take place between 8 and 31 December in the purpose built tent.

The Harlequin Theatre and Cinema closed on 26 September, putting the annual pantomime in jeopardy.

Mr Bashford explained the loss of the pantomime “would have been devastating for all of us, because we’ve been through lockdown and Covid and all of the hardships that that brought.”

It took a week to put up the big top tent, which the council said would more than match the capacity of the theatre, and has heating and wheelchair accessible space.

Mr Bashford added he was “incredibly humbled and proud of the team to have brought this together in such a short time.”

The council said the stage would be angled away from housing in an effort to reduce noise and that it had committed to seeding the grass next spring.

Story taken from BBC South East