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Your Christmas am-dram round-up with Alison Norton

It’s that time of year again. Do I detect a sprinkle of fairy dust in the air, can I see the twinkle of lights and hear the evil laughter of a panto baddie? Yes, because the West Midlands and Shropshire are alight with amateur pantomimes and here are just a few of them you can enjoy this festive season!

Youth on Stage
Youth on Stage

It is wonderful to see am dram groups keeping this very British, age-old tradition alive, so here goes.

Youth on Stage, an up and coming group of young performers, will present Aladdin from December 8-10 at the Dovehouse Theatre in Solihull. Interestingly included in their pantomime is 'The Wizard of Youth on Stage'. I am not entirely sure who this character is, but I guess it spikes curiosity, so why not go along and see for yourselves? Erin Norman takes the title role of Aladdin, with Deanna Mullen as Princess Jasmine, Jack Chambers as the wonderful Widow Twankey and Esme Read as the evil Abanazer. The whole group is made up of students from schools and colleges in Birmingham, Coleshill and Halesowen. For tickets, visit youthonstage.org or visit their Facebook page.

There is just time to catch the last few performances of Codsall Dramatic Society’s show, Sleeping Beauty, at Codsall Village Hall on December 1-3. For tickets, call 01902 267322 or visit codsalldramaticsociety.co.uk

Jack and the Beanstalk is an extremely popular pantomime, and this year more groups than ever have chosen Jack and his friends to entertain their followers. Kinver Light Operatic Society is first, with performances from December 3-10. Despite being in the middle of rehearsals for their forthcoming musical, Sister Act, this dedicated team is working extra hard to bring their panto to the stage too. For tickets, visit the group’s Facebook page or website at klos.co.uk

The next group to present Jack and the Beanstalk is Starstruck Theatre Company, who will perform the panto at the Mill Theatre, Sedgley, from December 14-18. There are some exclusive offers available for the show if you make a group booking. For details, call 01902 334874 or visit seaty.co.uk/jack

Then, you can catch yet another production of Jack and his magic beans at Highbury Theatre, presented by From the Top Theatre Company on December 13-17. Visit ticketsource.co.uk/from-the-top-theatre-company or call 0121 373 2761 to book.

Over in Birmingham, the resident group at Blue Orange Theatre will be presenting Cinderella until December 10, complete with pumpkins, mice, a fairy godmother and of course, a handsome prince. For tickets, visit blueorangetheatre.co.uk or call 0121 212 2643. This group is also presenting another Christmas show this year, The Snow Queen. from December 17-30. Just the thing to occupy the children during the “twixmas” holiday. The show is adapted from the famous tale by Hans Christian Andersen and will certainly bring joy to fans of Frozen. Gerda sets out on an epic journey through the seasons to save her best friend Kai, before she loses him to endless winter. It is so realistic you can feel an icy chill in the air. To book tickets, visit blueorangetheatre.co.uk or call 0121 212 2643

Probably my favourite pantomime is Beauty and the Beast, so I was delighted to hear that the Birmingham Ormiston Academy is presenting the show at the Old Rep in Birmingham until December 16. Although this is not the Disney version of the show, the production has original catchy songs, spectacular costumes and is guaranteed to delight family members of all ages. The BOA students are working hard, both on stage and off to bring this classic tale to their audiences. For tickets, visit oldreptheatre.co.uk or call 0121 359 9444.

At Sutton Arts Centre, there is an unusual pantomime, in fact two in one – Robin Hood and The Babes in the Wood, written and directed by local am dram performers, Emily Armstrong and Dexter Whitehead. The evil Sheriff of Nottingham has hatched a plan to dispose of his niece and nephew and thus claim their fortune, but little does he know that Robin Hood and his Merry Men know his secret and are about to set out to foil his wicked doings. For tickets, visit suttonartstheatre.co.uk or call 0121 355 5355.

KG Theatre, based in Shrewsbury is presenting Aladdin from December 14-17 at Prestfelde Preparatory School, London Road. Jordan Phillpotts takes the title role, with Jess Foxall has his Princess Jasmine and Chloe Parry as the Genie of the Lamp. For tickets, visit the group’s Facebook page, or call 078908358820.

For those of you who are not panto fans, there are other offerings this Christmas time too.

In Oswestry, Attfield Theatre will present the classic festive tale, A Christmas Carol, at The Guildhall from December 5-10. But this is A Christmas Carol with a twist – it is set in North Wales and explores a living, beathing Victorian community. For tickets, visit attfieldtheatre.co.uk or call 07544 11 35 11.

Dudley Little Theatre will present Christmas Crackers from December 1-4, at St. Peter’s Church Hall, Netherton. This lively concert is a fun-filled stocking of festive treats, including comedy, drama, poetry and songs and guaranteed to bring the Yuletide spirit! You can book your tickets at dudleylittletheatre.org or by calling Rebecca Clee on 07954424555.

Oldbury Rep is thrilled to collaborate with Enchant, a local four-part chamber musical group, to present the perfect way to start the festive season this year, with their Christmas Wassail from December 16-18. If you look up the word “Wassail” you will be interested in the definition. It means “blessing, toasting, sharing and giving thanks during the Yuletide period” and this concert is exactly that - a mixture of words and music relating to Christmastime. For tickets, visit oldburyrep.org or call 0121 552 2761.

There is much more panto fun to come after Christmas too, don’t despair if I have not mentioned your group this time. Panto goes on even into February.

That’s all for this year. Please email me all your am dram news to a.norton@expressandstar.co.uk, call me on 01902 319662 or follow me on Facebook and Twitter, @AlisonNorton. Remember to include some good quality colour photos to accompany your articles too.

A Very Merry Christmas to you all and here’s to 2023.eak a leg!

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