Based in Lewes, the historical county town of Sussex on the south coast of England, our small group has been staging pantomimes for the entertainment of the Lewes community for over 60 years.
Starting life at St. Mary’s Church Hall in Highdown Road in 1947, the pantomime soon became part of the Lewes calendar before relocating to our current home at St. Mary’s Social Centre just a short distance away in 1962.
Our ethos throughout this time has remained fairly well unchanged; to provide affordable topical pantomimes that may be enjoyed by both young and old, and more importantly that the cast and crew should wherever possible be ‘home grown’. Many of those involved with the group started as young chorus members and have either progressed to becoming the principal cast members of today, or decided that the spotlight was not for them and turned their hand to behind the scenes roles instead.
Another important element that has remained constant throughout our 60+ years is the shows that we perform on an annual basis (in title anyway!). There are six well known pantomimes in our repertoire which are performed on a cyclic basis, these being Mother Goose; Babes in the Wood; Jack and the Beanstalk; Aladdin; Cinderella; and Dick Whittington. The basic plot of each of these has of course remained constant over the years, however each time it is performed the script is updated to include topical references, both local and national.
This pattern of six shows was established by former director Jack Greenaway when he took the joint role of director and Dame in 1972, and was continued by subsequent directors John Farier and Andy Freeman, both of whom also took the role of the Dame, and from 2014 by director only, Thomas Hackett.
In 2016 however we chose to add a 7th show to our repertoire, and for the first time we staged Robin Hood. The show was not the only thing to change however, as once again we saw a new Director take post.
Tom Freeman, son to former Dame/Director Andy, and no stranger to either the on or offstage world of St. Mary's himself is yet another shining example of working upwards through the ranks, but on this occassion he was not to assume also the role of Dame as so many directors before him have done. This was by no means a decision based upon vanity, as he has been an Ugly Sister before. His decision to watch the show each night from the lighting box has however paid dividends for the group, as Tom has agreed to direct the show again in 2017.
We look forward to seeing you there!