WORRIED the coronavirus pandemic might make you miss out on your dose of panto fun this Christmas?

Well, don’t despair: York-based Theatre of Science and Explore York Libraries have teamed up to produce a band-new interactive panto that you’ll be able to watch - and take part in - at home.

Written, directed and performed by York-based physics teacher turned science communicator Lara Stafford, The Little Astronomermaid will tell the story of ex-mermaid Ariel, who is finding life on land disappointing.

She decides it is time for her to conquer space. Unfortunately, NASA’s director isn’t impressed when he interviews her to be an astronaut. Instead of batting her eyelids and singing Calypso songs, he tells her she’ll have to learn physics...

The Little Astronomermaid is the follow-up to Lara’s sell-out tour of Cinderella The Physicist at York Explore last year.

It will first be performed live on Lara’s Theatre of Science Facebook page at 10.30am and 6pm on Monday December 21, when you’ll be able to join in Ariel’s science experiments at home. A recording will then go up on Explore York’s YouTube channel after Christmas.

Lara started performing a live, weekly show from her Facebook page Theatre of Science during lockdown.

The shows quickly took off, and more than ten thousand families signed up to study topics ranging from rainbows and volcanoes to black holes and poo.

“They all involve an activity that the kids do alongside me, and a story time, which has become increasingly elaborate!” Lara said.

She’ll be taking elements of this regular show and mixing them with a storyline and some silly costumes and puppets for her Christmas panto. “It’s really exciting!” she said. “This is a Christmas show people know they will be able to see whatever happens between now and December”.

Live performances of The Little Astronomermaid will be free to view - no booking required. More details from the Theatre of Science Facebook page. A recording will be on Explore’s YouTube channel after Christmas.