Essex village panto brings community together in aid of Poppy Appeal

The cast of the Boxted village pantomime, Aladdin, including director Scott Dolling (back row, far l

The cast of the Boxted village pantomime, Aladdin, including director Scott Dolling (back row, far left). Picture: WILL LODGE - Credit: Archant

A pantomime being put on in a north Essex village is bringing members of the community together – and raising money for charity.

Aladdin is being staged at the Boxted Royal British Legion (RBL) club later this month, with all proceeds going to the RBL Poppy Appeal.

It follows on from a production of Cinderella staged two years ago, and hopes to build on that show’s success.

Director and cast member Scott Dolling – who used to run the East Anglian Daily Times’ amateur dramatics group Typecast – said: “Cinderella went down really well and there were a lot of people who had never done that sort of thing before. People from the village appreciated seeing some of their regular faces in a way they had never seen them before.”

“We wanted to do another one the following year but it never came about as many of the cast were busy, but this year Barry Took, RBL chairman – and the dame – was keen to get things going again.”

Former village resident Cherry Watts has written and is narrating the play, while her husband John has designed and made the scenery and props.

Written with local knowledge, the panto is a twist on the classic Aladdin, with some Boxted in-jokes too – and the traditional well-hidden adult humour.

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Mr Dolling added: “This year we have some familiar faces and some new willing volunteers too, some inspired by Cinderella and who wanted a slice of the action.

“We have some children from the village taking part so there are roles for them, the traditional dame and a lady playing the leading man, and of course lots of audience participation. The cast ranges from seven to in their 70s.

“I am nervously excited. It’s a lot of responsibility to put on a production, but rehearsals are coming along nicely and I think it will be really good and funny.

“We are having fun doing it, which is always a good sign and hopefully that will come through when we do the performance.”

As well as the RBL hosting the performance, Boxted St Peter’s Primary School is providing additional seating for the audience.

“The main thing is to raise money for the Poppy Appeal. Boxted is lucky to have its own RBL club, and this is another event that brings the village community together,” Mr Dolling added.

The show takes place on December 28, with performances at 3.30pm and 7pm. Children are recommended to attend the first performance. Tickets, which are selling fast, are £3 children, £6 adults, available from the RBL club in Straight Road, or from Mr Took on 07941 724543.

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