Buckingham panto promises a knight to remember...

Buckingham Community Pantomime.
Buckingham Community Pantomime.

Rehearsals are well under way for the popular Buckingham Community Pantomime, and tickets are now on sale.

This season’s panto, which will run from Thursday to Saturday, January 23 to 25, will be new to audiences.

Camelot: The Panto is a new show by expert pantomime writer Ben Crocker.

It’s full of all the usual pantomime stuff with a dame, a very nasty villain, a brave principal boy, a feisty principal girl and lots of opportunities for the audience to join in.

Wicked fairy Morgan le Fay conspires with Valerin the Vicious to kidnap the Princess Guinevere on the eve of her wedding to Arthur.

Aided and abetted by Marlon the Visible Knight and Garlon the Invisible Knight, they take Guinevere to Valerin’s misty mountain-top castle, in order to force her to marry Valerin and destroy Camelot.

But Arthur, Uther, Laughalot the Jester and dame Connie Clatterbottom won’t take things lying down and head off in hot pursuit...

Arthur is played by Shanelle Thomson, Guinevere by Kelly Crofts, Sir Laughalot by James Fenton and Connie Clatterbottom by Roger Edwards.

A much-loved Buckingham institution, the Community Panto will be 30 years old next year. Started in 1984 by Buckingham resident Lionel Weston and a group of friends, the first production took place in January 1985.

Since then there has been a show at Buckingham Community Centre every January.

The history of the Community Pantomime is closely linked with the history of the Community Centre. The building opened in 1984 and Mr Weston, who was then a master at Stowe School, had the idea of using it for some sort of community activity.

He got together with a group of friends and volunteers and together they came up with a number of ideas.

The plan was for a community activity that could be open to anybody from in and around Buckingham who wanted to be involved. People of all ages and all backgrounds should be able to be involved.

The idea they finally hit on was to have a community pantomime, something that would bring in a lot of people who wanted to take part but that would also be there for people who wanted just to come and watch – and of course join in.

Anybody who wishes to take part in the panto, either on the stage or helping in some other capacity, can do so. Nobody is ever turned away.

The only qualification is that they should be at least eight years old.Hundreds of people have taken part and thousands have been entertained over the years.

In addition, the panto always uses any profits that are made to donate thousands of pounds to local groups and organisations.

Tickets for Camelot: The Panto are £8.50 for adults and £5 for children, from the Old Gaol.