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Pantomime Returns to Willerby

Alex Slater, playing the Demon Knight, and Lesley Hills is that ghost.

The biennial treat of community panto in Willerby will see Mother Goose on stage in March 2018 for amateur thespians, led by seasoned producer Stuart Hickson.

Willerby Methodist Drama Group in East Yorkshire will be staging eight performances of their song and dance variety show, featuring the Fleur Elizabeth Dance Academy.

Tony Barker went down to rehearsals for a preview.

Tickets: Adults £7 and children £5.

When: 1st-3rd March, 8th-10th March, 7.30pm, and Saturday matinees at 2.15pm.

Where: Willerby Methodist Church, Carr Lane.

Stuart writes:

My first venture into pantomime was in 1988 as part of the backstage crew for the Willerby Methodist Young Wives’ production of “Dick Whittington”. I was already a member of the drama group but this was a whole new adventure. Since then, I have been involved in the biennial shows in one way or another.

In 2000, the Wives decided to give up panto and a new group was formed. I had the pleasure of accepting the part of the Dame, a role I had longed to play for many years. This continued for three pantomimes but then, unfortunately, our then producer and writer Peter Lancaster died, and so I took over the production. We then had to find scripts and this we did from Josef Weinberger’s. I did not realise just how much work this would involve as not only do you have to direct the play but you also have to organise dancers, costumes, props, scenery, backstage work, etc.

Thankfully, we have a brilliant team behind us which certainly helps. I find the whole aspect of pantomime and drama in general so rewarding as to me there is no better feeling than hearing an audience laughing and clapping during a performance and finally going away happy at the end. I really do get a buzz from this. It has also become a real part of the Willerby community culture as people are ringing up well in advance of the dates asking when the next pantomime is taking place. Our latest production, next month, is “Mother Goose”.

Rehearsals take place twice a week and I have to say I think we have more fun at those than on the actual production nights. If you have never thought about being involved, why not think about it now. There are always plenty of jobs to do behind the scenes even if you don’t want to tread the boards - I am sure you will find it most enjoyable. Do come along to our next production which opens on 1st March and runs until the 3rd and then 8th-10th. They are at 7.30 nightly and 2.15 matinees on Saturdays to see what it is all about. Tickets are available from 01482 654719 (adults £7 children £5). We look forward to seeing you and welcoming you to the world of pantomime, all in aid of charity. Everyone’s a winner!

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