Monday, 20 January 2020

Pantomime cancelled due to lack of support

WOODCOTE’S New Year pantomime has been called off due to a shortage of participants.

The village’s amateur dramatic society, which usually stages the show in January and February, says it cannot go ahead because too few people are willing to appear in it or work backstage.

Although audience numbers have remained steady over the years, the society’s own numbers have dwindled and most of the remaining members are older people who say they need help from younger people.

The group, which recently staged one of its regular murder mystery evenings at the village hall, hopes to attract new members by hosting an open evening with the aim of staging a production in the spring.

Chairman Terry Sopp, who appears in the shows, said: “Once our autumn murder mystery was out of the way, it soon became clear that no one was coming forward to help with rehearsals for the pantomime.

“We’ve been going for more than 50 years and have staged the pantomime since practically forever. We’ve got a loyal, ready-made audience to pack it out but only a tiny group of about 10 of us to hold together the lights, sound, staging and so on.

“We need some young blood as pretty much everyone here is in their fifties and we don’t want to just be putting on plays set in retirement homes, as easy as those would be to cast.

“It’s such a commitment to rehearse twice a week for three months and I don’t think many people have the time these days.

“We always put on a pretty lavish show for a group of our size, with brilliant hand-made scenery and costumes. We enjoy doing it but many of us, myself included, could do with a break.

“Hopefully we can get something going later in the year if there’s enough of a response at the open day, although we have struggled to recruit people in the past.

“People don’t need lots of experience, just lots of enthusiasm to kick-start it again.”

The open evening will be held at the village hall on Thursday, January 23 at 7.30pm.

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