Paws for thought as centre is turned into theatre for panto

Buckingham Community Pantomime,Puss in Boots.Some of the characters in costume.'120108M-B088
Buckingham Community Pantomime,Puss in Boots.Some of the characters in costume.'120108M-B088

A MAJOR transformation is under way at Buckingham Community Centre, as the crew of the Buckingham Community Panto go about the annual task of turning the large hall into a theatre auditorium.

When Advertiser reporter Hannah Richardson visited last Friday lunchtime, the entire floor was already swathed in thick-gauge plastic, the platforms for the raked seating was partially built and producer Lesley Smith was eagerly awaiting delivery of the first load of staging.

Buckingham Community Pantomime,Puss in Boots.Stage constuction.'120108M-B114

Buckingham Community Pantomime,Puss in Boots.Stage constuction.'120108M-B114

Crew members stay until the stage is built, then continue working all weekend and every evening to continue the preparations.

Next Wednesday sees the dress rehearsal, to which senior citizens are always invited, through the local churches.

Lesley has been involved with the community panto since the very first production 28 years ago. Every year the pantomime hires the community centre for two weeks. And during this period, the volunteer cast and crew of more than 100 people work together to make the production happen.

Some have been involved since the very beginning but each year brings a crop of new faces eager to join the fun.

This year’s production of Puss In Boots is directed by Terry Penny.

“Terry takes care of everything on stage. I take care of everything off,” said Lesley.

“I pull the crew all together. It’s good fun. None of us would do it if we didn’t enjoy it.”

The show runs from Thursday to Saturday, January 19 to 21.

“Then on Sunday we have to break it right down and clear the place in one day,” said Lesley.

“That’s when we wonder why we do it!”

Tickets for Puss In Boots cost £7.50 (under-16s £5) from Buckingham’s Old Gaol.