A Yorkshire theatre has banned plastic toys from its family Christmas pantomime

Plastic toys will no longer be allowed inside a Yorkshire arts venue after complaints that they were becoming a 'distraction' during shows.

The Victoria Theatre in Halifax

The Victoria Theatre in Halifax has issued the ban ahead of this year's Christmas pantomime, Beauty and the Beast.

The decision has been made due to both environmental concerns over single-use plastics and complaints that flashing toys can distract performers while they are on stage.

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Plastic toys will no longer be on sale inside the venue during panto season and customers cannot bring their own into the theatre.

First photos released of repairs to North Yorkshire Moors Railway's 'Harry Potter bridge'The venue is now selling 'higher quality' toys before showings instead - including hand puppets and pencils.

A statement from the Victoria Theatre said:

"In a bid to reduce the use of plastics at the Victoria Theatre, the venue has made the decision to no longer sell disposable plastic flashing toys at this year’s pantomime Beauty and the Beast. The theatre is also mindful of feedback from customers and the pantomime performers who have described the flashing toys as a distraction during the show, and especially can spoil some of the stage special effects. As a result, visitors to the pantomime are being asked not to purchase plastic toys from anywhere before the show, as they will not be allowed into the theatre.

"Instead the Victoria Theatre is delighted to announce that they will be selling a new range of higher quality toys at this year’s pantomime. It is hoped that these new toys will encourage pantomime visitors and their children to make and share stories inspired by their pantomime experience and that the toys will be used for years to come. The new range includes a selection of hand puppets, finger puppets and pencils with playful toppers with more choice of souvenirs that will make excellent Christmas gifts."

The venue's manager Tim Fagan added:-

Bradford's back: Why the maligned Yorkshire city has just been named the most improved in the UK“Plastic pollution is a global issue and whilst this is a small step, we hope that this is just one step closer to encouraging our organisation and guests to think more about the use of single use plastic. We are also looking at other environmental initiatives and are trialling recycling solutions in the venue in the coming months.”

The Grade-I listed theatre dates back to 1901 and has been owned by Calderdale Council since the 1960s.

It has hosted acts including Status Quo, The Beatles, The Jackson Five, Kasabian, Embrace, Ian Brown and The Human League. The illusionist Derren Brown has also performed there.

Earlier this year, actor Neil Hurst, who had spent 10 years starring in the venue's annual panto, announced he was stepping down, and Beauty and the Beast will be the first production since 2009 that he has not fronted.

The story of how the famous Bettys Christmas window is designed and createdBeauty and the Beast runs at the Victoria Theatre from Saturday December 14 until Sunday January 5. Tickets start from £16.