Panto panda-monium came to Sabden when the village panto group took to the stage with “Sleeping Beauty”.
And one of the stars of the show during the five performances was a life-sized panda character called Peter who proved a real hit with young and old alike.
On holiday from his home in Burnley, the panda was just one of the fun characters in this home-grown show by Sabden’s New Village Folk.
Their pantos are proving so popular with audiences that they added an extra night this year and that was 85% full – while all the other performances were sold out.
Sabden’s version of “Sleeping Beauty” was written by Annie Woodward (nee Parsons) who played the lead role herself when a pupil at St Mary’s RC Primary School. She was also musical director, bringing the story to life with a range of lovely song and dance numbers.
The panto was directed by Ben Parsons, who also played one of the lead comedy roles, in his own inimitable way, as Woody the Woodcutter – who kept losing his chopper.
The principals were teenagers Emily Rickard as Sleeping Beauty and Pia Hosker as the Prince of Ribble Valleyo.
The dame character, Queen Eileen of Sabdonia, was played wonderfully by Mark Woodward, with Dominic Collis her much maligned husband King Seth.
Ann Mason was the exceedingly evil Queen Greena and Beth Ashton was Ariel Queen of the Fairies.
Other cast members were Margaret Parsons, Alma Thompson, Diane Collinson, Maisie Yerkess, Eliza Fielding, Hannah Woodward, Martin Shorter, Ronan Fitzpatrick, Jean Haythornthwaite, Lewis Bennett-Hall, Joey Parsons, Scarlet Dickinson, Chris Boocock, Jill Wright as Peter the Panda and narrator Dave Parsons.
The pantomime was staged in St Mary’s Community Hall, with Sabden’s Cubs, Beavers and Brownies joining the full house for the Saturday matinee.
Pauline Hindle was the prompt, Marcel Galea was in charge of sound and lighting and the backstage team was Jill Wright and Brian Haythornthwaite. Other helpers being Gemma Parsons and Hannah Vercoe-Bracewell (make-up and choreography), Kath Morgan, Simon Capstick and Kieron Parsons (music), and Kay Galea, Maria Fitzpatrick, Elaine Boocock and Liz McGinley front of house.