PANTOMIME fans in South Essex will get the chance to enjoy a celebrity, fun-filled show over the Christmas and New Year period – and help raise much-needed cash for St Luke’s Hospice.
In a unique collaboration, the Hospice, which serves Basildon, Billericay and Thurrock, will be boosted with a share of ticket sales from Aladdin, which will be headlined by Coronation Street and Dancing on ice star Danny Young and pop icon and I’m a Celebrity contestant David Van Day.
The pantomime, to be staged at the Civic Hall, Blackshots, in Thurrock, will be launched with a gala ‘Snowball’ dinner performance on Thursday, 30 December, followed by seven day run featuring 17 morning, matinee and evening performances.
It is being produced by Theatre Productions Ltd, who wanted to support a local charity and have forged a partnership with St Luke’s, who will run the event’s telephone booking line. They will receive £1 for every ticket sold and will also be the beneficiaries of the gala night.
St Luke’s fundraising manager Marilyn DeBattista says: “We are delighted to be associated with Theatre Productions and are looking forward to working with them and help sell as many tickets as possible to support our work.
“The production promises to be great family fun at affordable prices – which includes a guaranteed donation to St Luke’s.
“This year is turning out to be very challenging and unpredictable in regards to fundraising income and we are struggling on a monthly basis to bring in the required income to keep all our hospice services running. This is a marvellous opportunity for us to generate some much-needed funds.”
When Aladdin arrives at The Civic Hall in Grays this pantomime season, expect a fantastic musical show full of festive family fun in colossal quantities – with bucket loads of boos and hisses, huge doses of heckling ‘he’s behind you’, panto dames, and maybe even a wish or two from the Genie of the Lamp.
Opening on Thursday 30th December and continuing until Saturday 8th January 2011, more than 17 festive performances are in store for audience members at The Civic Hall this year.
Expect to see a flying magic carpet, marvel at a host of magic tricks, watch out for Aladdin (played by DANNY YOUNG); Abanazar (played by Grays’ very own DAVID VAN DAY – the man we all love to hate!) and Widow Twankey’s shenanigans, and join Aladdin on his journey from rags-to-riches – defeating the evil Abanazer and winning the heart of the beautiful princess along the way.
The panto will also star David’s wife, TV presenter and the Sun newspaper beauty columnist and Widow Twanky will be played by Rodney Howard. Other main cast members will be revealed shortly and the cast will feature young local performers. Date for auditions will be announced shortly.
With the huge Civic Hall stage and large capacity venue it will be Thurrock’s biggest pantomime and with a live band promises good old fashioned family entertainment fit for all ages.