Panto in March? Normal for Hotwells…

THE Hotwells Pantomime returns to the stage later this month when the curtain goes up on a local version of Treasure Island. 

 “This is pantomime number forty-two and all of them have been performed, written, acted and directed by local people. They all come from Hotwells, Clifton Wood and Clifton” said Bryan Mason, who is directing this year’s show. 

“We have a cast of more than fifty people along with an eight-piece band working on twelve songs. There are also children and teenagers who have special parts in the panto. 

 “The show is always set in the Kingdom of Hotwellia and is packed with invention, colour. laughter and songs. There are also references to local people and places,” said Bryan, who has previously performed, written and edited various pantos.  

Christmas is normally the season for staging pantos but the Hotwells tradition of holding it in March began with the first one in 1981. Since then it has become a major event in the local community calendar. 

 “People said they were busy in December so it’s always been staged in March. It’s as truly community event,” said Bryan. 

Work on each production normally starts towards the end of November when a small group of local people meets to decide which panto they want to put on. Casting and rehearsals take place in the New Year. 

Treasure Island is being staged at The Hope Chapel. Hope Chapel Hill from March 13-16. After the four-night run a group of people will gather to disburse the ticket money. It always goes to support charities and organisations in the Hotwells area. 

• A scene from last year’s productiion of Cinderella