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Oh yes it will - Special ‘lockdown’ panto to go ahead

PUBLISHED: 11:25 05 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:25 05 October 2020

Rapunzel – The Lockdown Panto stars Rapunzel (Emma Riches) with her Prince (Charlie Randall) and his agent (Harry Williams). Picture: Richard Batson/SLT

Rapunzel – The Lockdown Panto stars Rapunzel (Emma Riches) with her Prince (Charlie Randall) and his agent (Harry Williams). Picture: Richard Batson/SLT

Archant

A pioneering project will help keep the festive panto tradition alive at two Norfolk theatres - with thousands of children expected to join in online.

Rapunzel (Emma Riches) lets down her hair in Rapunzel – The Lockdown Panto. Picture: Richard Batson/SLTRapunzel (Emma Riches) lets down her hair in Rapunzel – The Lockdown Panto. Picture: Richard Batson/SLT

The fairytale of Rapunzel - a girl kept captive in her own ‘lockdown’ tower while her hair grows ever longer - is to go ahead at Sheringham Little Theatre and Great Yarmouth’s St George’s Theatre.

The performance will be live-streamed online at schools thanks to Norfolk Music Hub, which promotes music-making among children.

Debbie Thompson, director of both theatres, said: “We have done lots of work with the Music Hub, and when I heard they were looking for a panto I said ‘look no further’.

“We have been looking for ways to stage a shortened, socially-distanced panto with a small cast at both venues to reduce the cost risk – and this link-up with the Hub adds an extra dimension to ensure youngsters do not miss out on their annual dose of pantomime. In true panto style it’s a real happy ending for all concerned, even before curtain up.”

The Prince (Charlie Randall) woos Rapunzel as Fantazmo watches on in Rapunzel – The Lockdown Panto. Picture: Richard Batson/SLTThe Prince (Charlie Randall) woos Rapunzel as Fantazmo watches on in Rapunzel – The Lockdown Panto. Picture: Richard Batson/SLT

Rapunzel – The Lockdown Panto is written and directed Nick Earnshaw and stars Great Yarmouth actor Emma Riches in the title role.

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Charlie Randall from Aylsham, plays the prince, while Harry Williams from North Walsham is his celebrity agent, Fantazmo. Loraine Metcalfe, from Cromer, plays the wicked sorceress.

The 50-minute live stage shows will be at St George’s on December 15, 17, 18 and 19, before switching to Sheringham on December 22, 23 and 24.

Loraine Metcalfe who will play the sorceress, in Rapunzel – The Lockdown Panto, seen in previous panto baddie mode. Picture: Richard Batson/SLTLoraine Metcalfe who will play the sorceress, in Rapunzel – The Lockdown Panto, seen in previous panto baddie mode. Picture: Richard Batson/SLT

The live streaming will take place on December 16, filmed with a live band and an audience of invited youngsters at St George’s, whose cabaret-style seating allows for more space and 76 guests in the 220-seater auditorium during Covid restrictions.

Sheringham can host 40 people in its 160 seats under current rules.

The sessions will be run by the Come and Sing Company on behalf of the Arts Council-funded Norfolk Music Hub.

During the live screening, which will be captioned and signed, youngsters will be encouraged to get into the festive spirit by dressing up as their favourite panto character, and to post pictures on social media. It will take place at 1.45pm on Wednesday December 16 with a warm up session from 1.30pm.

Krista Ribbons, the Hub’s area manager, said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for thousands of youngsters – at schools, or studying at home through isolating of home schooling - to get involved in a panto performance and learn along the way about pantomime, the theatre, and to practice the songs using our online resources.”

To book, visit www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com or www.stgeorgestheatre.com and schools can find out more about the online streaming at www.norfolkmusichub.org.uk.


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