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18 December

From the Archive: School Pantos

Staff at The King’s School have long enacted, on a semi-regular basis, pantomimes for pupils at the school (Oh yes, they have!).  Here we recall two of these productions, to get into the festive spirit…

Winnie-the-Pooh, 1978

In 1978 The King’s School staff produced a pantomime version of Winnie-the-Pooh, an adaptation of Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner with original words and music by Peter Diamond (KSW Staff 1970-1992).  Among the cast were  Stewart Davies (KSW Staff  1969 – 2007) as Pooh, Alan Stacey (KSW Staff 1958-1991) as Rabbit, Bob Burkill (KSW Staff 1969-1997) as Owl, Richard Gabriel (KSW Staff 1967-1987) as Roo, and David Annett (Headmaster 1959-1979) as Eeyore.  Mr. Annett’s role in the production was later remembered by Donald Howell (S 1953-1961, Chairman of Governors 1986-2010): “In David’s last winter at King’s, 1978, he played Eeyore in the staff pantomime Winnie-the-Pooh. Stewart Davies, playing Pooh, had to give Eeyore a cue and, because he got the words wrong, saying ‘Hello, Eeyore’ instead of ‘Good morning, Eeyore’, David refused to act on the cue. Stewart tried again, and still got it wrong. Then David looked up and, with that renowned twinkle in his eye, stage-whispered what Stewart should have said. Only when Stewart got it exactly right did David eventually respond!”

Programme for Winnie-the-Pooh, 1978

 

Jack and the Beanstalk, 2013

The most recent Staff Pantomime, performed in the John Moore Theatre in 2013, was Jack and the Beanstalk and involved over 40 King’s and King’s St Alban’s teaching and support staff.  The creative team consisted of Danny Payne (Director/Producer), David Brookshaw (Musical Director), Trudie Marskell and Catherin Cantin (Choreographers), Jenny Hewitt (Wardrobe) and Chris Crosswell (Designer).  The cast, portraying all of your favourite pantomime characters, included Andrew Maund as Dame Gaga, Jack’s poor, long-suffering mother and wannabe pop star; Lorri Guy as the Fairy Godmother; Mary Anne Keyes as Slimeball, henchman to the Giant (Scott Williams, voiced by Richard Geary); David Haddock as King Bertie, on whom Dame Gaga had set her sights; Alice Briggs as his daughter, Princess Demelza, the object of Jack’s affections; and Simon Atkins, Simple Simon who tried valiantly to milk Daisy the Cow (Katie Beever and Lin Brighton).  Particular highlights were the entrance of Dame Gaga, Daisy the Cow’s antics in the dairy, the evil schemes put into action by Slimeball, and the valiance of Jack (Catherin Cantin) in deciding to climb the beanstalk, which really did grow on stage.  When we finally met the Giant in his castle the audience gasped: Mr. Williams, already well over 6’, was truly enormous in his oversized boots and ogre-like head mask.  The cast and crew had a truly unforgettable time and raised £3,000 for The SPACE Campaign – now the Keyes Building – through ticket and programme sales, on top of funds raised from the sale of interval drinks by members of the Parents’ Committee.

Programme for Jack and the Beanstalk, 2013