IT may be the height of summer, but that hasn’t put off Winchester’s Theatre Royal as it prepares for its festive pantomime.

The Jewry Street theatre announced the sponsors for this year’s Christmas show, Sleeping Beauty, rather fittingly at Habels Sleep Shop in St George’s Street.

The store is one of the sponsors, alongside Belgarum Estate Agents and the Hampshire Chronicle, and the event was complete with Sleeping Beauty herself, and her Prince Charming.

Theatre Royal chief executive, Mark Courtice, said: “The pantomime is coming! Tickets are on sale and people are buying them. I suppose I’m not the only one thinking about Christmas.

“Our two new supporters are also thinking about it, and I’m really pleased to welcome their support.

“It could not be better to have a bed company supporting Sleeping Beauty, and I figured that when they are married they will need a really good estate agent! It seems like it fits perfectly.”

Alex Lambourne, director of Belgarum, said it is important to support the community.

He said: “I think from our perspective as a local business, a local event like this is really important to support. It’s a family event and we are a family business.

“The theatre is a really precious thing for Winchester, you see so many towns that lose their theatres due to lack of support, so it is important that we can do that.”

For owner of Habels, Danny Habel, the pantomime brings back memories.

“I was born in Winchester so I have been to and taken loads of kids to the pantomime,” he said.

“It’s got value to me as part of the city and that’s a major reason, and then there is the obvious link because anyone could come here to buy a bed to sleep in for 100 years!”

Hampshire Chronicle editor, Keith Redbourn, said: “The Chronicle has been a long-time supporter of the Theatre Royal, and we are delighted to continue that support through our sponsorship of this year’s pantomime.”

The pantomime runs from Tuesday, December 9, until Sunday, January 4.