A much-loved Wrexham pantomime which has raised thousands for charity is set to mark its 60th anniversary at Wrexham Glyndwr University’s William Aston Hall this half term.
The Wrexham and District Pantomime Company will be presenting Cinderella – their 60th anniversary panto – in the William Aston Hall from Sunday, February 24th to Saturday March 2nd.
The company has been putting on shows in the town for six decades, with some performers racking up dozens of years’ experience treading the Hall’s stage.
Frank Jones from Rhostyllen, who is playing the Baron in this year’s production, is one of the Wrexham and District Pantomime company’s longest-serving members.
He said: “I was at church the other day and someone stopped me and said he’d heard an interview with a man on the BBC who had been playing a pantomime dame for 42 years – and the presenter had said ‘that’s got to be a record!’ – well, he’s still got five years to go before he catches me!
“This will be my 47th year on the stage. My first panto was in 1972 – I was working the clubs back then and wasn’t sure about doing panto too, but I went along to a rehearsal and really got into it!”
As well as delighting families over the decades, the Wrexham and District Pantomime has also helped continue another Wrexham pantomime tradition – by raising thousands of pound for local charities and good causes.
Jayne Galante, the Pantomime’s publicist, said: “We’ve got a long proud history in Wrexham – with roots going back past the founding of the company sixty years ago – a forerunner of the present day company originally started in 1906.
“That company, the Walter Roberts Pantomime company, became so renowned there was even a Pantomime ward named after them in the War Memorial hospital – and in 1928, the Daily Mail reported they had ‘raised more money than any other amateur organisation in the country.
“We have worked hard to keep that charity link going, and have donated to a huge range of local charities such as Nightingale House, Dynamic, and Advance Brighter Futures. Last year, we helped to donate more than £11,000 and it’s so good that we are able to donate money in this way.”
However, the charity donations would not be possible without audiences visiting the Pantomimes each half term – and the company works hard to ensure children and families are offered the best shows each February.
Jayne added: “We always do the pantomime in the February half term. We have a rotating series of classic pantomimes which we put on – and as the oldest pantomime company in Wales, lots of our cast are seasoned performers who have been with us since they have been really young.
“Quite a few of our performers have gone onto theatre careers across Britain after working with us too – it’s always great to see our performers becoming a success!
“What our pantomimes are really all about, though, is making sure families can come along to the William Aston Hall and enjoy a really good show!”
Wrexham Glyndwr University Director of Operations, Lynda Powell, said: “I’m delighted that we can host the Wrexham and District Pantomime company for their 60th year of performances in the town.
“Helping to put on these kinds of community events is really important to us, and thanks to a new agreement with our partners VMS Live, there has been an investment of more than £150,000 into the Hall to upgrade the sound, lighting and more.
“That work is designed to complement our Campus 2025 renewal programme, to boost our local economy – and to help us keep on putting on great shows such as Cinderella!”
The Wrexham and District Pantomime company’s 60th Anniversary Pantomime, Cinderella, runs at the William Aston Hall from Sunday February 24 to Saturday, Mar 2.
Matinee performances will be held on Sunday 24th February and Saturday 2 March at 2.15pm, alongside performances Monday to Saturday at 7.15pm
Tickets can be purchased on the door, from the booking office at Wrexham Glyndwr University, and from the Box Office on 0844 2491000
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