Posted: 17.11.20 at 09:50 by Tim Lethaby
One of Somerset’s most successful amateur dramatic groups is bringing pantomime to homes in Glastonbury as the theatre industry continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.
The Glastonbury and Street Musical Comedy Society (GSMCS) will stream online, for free, recordings of three of its recent pantomimes so families do not miss out on this festive treat.
While plans for this year’s GSMCS Cinderella panto were at full steam earlier in the year, ongoing restrictions and the temporary closure of its home at Strode Theatre in Street, meant it would be impossible to stage what would have been its last panto.
But not to be outdone by coronavirus, and with the blessing of film production company Flying Tiger Productions and pantomime script writer Matthew Maisey, the society is excited to still bring some festive cheer in the comfort of living rooms.
Throughout December it will be premiering on its YouTube channel Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (December 2), Jack and the Beanstalk (December 16) and Goldilocks and the Three Amazing Bears (December 30).
All the shows start at 4.45pm, and will feature a 10-minute break before act two gets underway from 6.15pm.
Matthew Maisey, who wrote the premiering pantomimes, said: "Our yearly treat of the delight of pantomime has been denied us this year, so it's a great idea to take pantomime to the homes of people who love it.
"Fabulous dances, familiar characters and stories, and most of all the jokes to make us laugh, cringe and smile. We deserve that, so I hope everyone enjoys revisiting these wonderful productions.”
This year was expected to be the last in a decade of pantomime performances for GSMCS at Strode Theatre, after managers there announced earlier this year they were shaking up their autumn programme as it looked for a more sustainable financial footing, with professional live arts joining community shows and independent cinema.
Laura Vernoum, chairman of GSMCS, said: “The performing arts industry has been so badly affected this year, and we have felt it like so many others - we’ve had to cancel shows, fundraising activities and social events.
“And while this year was set to be our last performing pantomimes, we weren’t going to let this pandemic get in the way.
"Over the past decade we have been supported by hundreds of families, and we want to make sure this little bit of traditional magic is sprinkled over their homes this Christmas.
“I’m personally grateful to both Flying Tiger Productions and Matthew Maisey for generously offering their support for free so we’re able to premiere these wonderful productions.
“This Christmas we want mums and dads to give the kids their tea, grab the popcorn, snuggle on the sofa, and boo and hiss from the comfort of their living rooms.”
While the pantomimes are free to watch, the society is always grateful to receive support and donations, especially during this difficult year. You can offer your support on its website.