You know Christmas has well and truly arrived when you are preparing to take little ones to the annual panto outing.
And it’s that time of the year again as the Stornoway Thespians prepare to raise the curtain on this year’s production Beauty and the Beast.
Showing at the town’s arts centre, An Lanntair, the panto will be performed on Thursday, December 8th; Friday, December 9th and Saturday, December 10th.
The Thespians’ Beauty and the Beast production is the usual great mix of comedy, dance and song - a fun filled family show - featuring goodies, baddies, a comical dame and a beautiful heroine.
The story is based on the French fairy tale written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740 and has been produced many times, including most famously, in the Disney animation of 1991.
In the Stornoway production, by David Cregan, the promising young King Tom of Belldrovia (Connor Clarke) is cursed by the wicked fairy Dolores (Margaret Ford) for refusing to marry her.
He is turned into a Beast (Calum Blane) and banished to live alone in a castle in the Doom Laden Woods. His only hope to lift the curse is that a young and beautiful girl goes to the castle and falls in love with him.
Good fairies, Candy (Michaela Smith) and Snowdrop (Rosie Sullivan), hatch a plan to get Beauty (Niamh Blane), a dutiful, honest young lady of the rather quirky Smith family, to the Beast’s castle.
Designed to appeal to the whole audience, no matter their age, the cast also has a wide age range with members from eight to 65.
Of course two of the most popular are the comedy dame, which this year is played by Steve Oliver, and the ‘baddie’, Dolores played by Margaret Ford.
This is the 27th consecutive panto by the Thespians, prior to 1989, the group did a panto every second year with a Gaelic panto in between, so they have certainly gained plenty of experience in what appeals to audiences.
And the commitment needed for each production is significant with work for cast, director and managers starting in September for December’s curtain raiser.
As well as providing great performances for local audiences the Thespians also try to source materials for each panto from local suppliers, and as they are self funding, they are very grateful for all the support they receive from the community.
Performances of Beauty and the Beast will take place at An Lanntair on Thursday and Friday at 10am and 7pm and on Saturday at 1pm and 4pm.
To get your tickets see the An Lanntair: website