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Rowntree Players: INTERVIEW

Rowntree Players: INTERVIEW

posted 28 Oct 2021

Fun, family-friendly community theatre at its best – oh yes, it is!

Rehearsals are in full swing for this festive season’s ‘rollicking romp of a panto’ at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre. This Christmas, our gorgeous art deco venue will host the classic tale of Dick Whittington, with a Rowntree Players’ twist or two.

The Rowntree Players, York’s oldest amateur theatre company, are going to put on a show that promises to delight audiences and fill hearts with Christmas spirit. Familiar tropes, slapstick humour, and pop-culture references await our audiences this December. 

Professional choreographer, Amy Carter is working with the actors to create a jaw-dropping performance, and a talented band, led by MD Jessica Douglas is gearing to perform during the show. The music and dance routines have been carefully developed by talented musicians and dancers under the watchful eye of panto director Howard Ella. 

The rehearsals are going brilliantly, with three weekly sessions to ensure that the large theatre troupe is ready to dazzle in just a few short weeks.

And the excitement was palpable when we caught up with the Rowntree Players to see how preparations were going. 

Helen Woodall, Rowntree Players Production Manager, said: “An incredible amount of effort goes into the pantomime. I know it sounds a bit cheesy, but we are a big panto family! We’re friends that have come together because of the Rowntree Players but actually we’ve also stayed friends because of the company and the relationships that we’ve built up.” 

And perhaps it is this special sense of community that makes the pantomime such a roaring success every year. 

Rowntree Players’ Leni Ella added: “People come back year after year because they have a great time.  

“It’s fun, it’s family-friendly, it’s community theatre at its best. There’ll be songs you recognise and tunes you can tap along to. It’s panto as it’s supposed to be done!”

And it’s no wonder families love the show. The pantomime was developed with children in mind. 

Helen added: “This panto isn’t all about a specific celebrity and giving that celebrity all of the stage time. We don’t have a celebrity. The kids who are in the panto get a huge amount of stage time.”

What better way to usher in the festive season? In addition to a pantomime done right and hosted in a beautiful historical theatre, there will also be a fundraising raffle! 

The shows will run from 4 to 12 December 2021. Prices start at £15 with discounts available for larger groups between Monday and Thursday. Tickets are selling fast, so hurry up and grab yours here.