25th panto celebration for Aldborough Players in north Norfolk

Aldborough Players cast members in the production of Excalibur – The Greatest Sword on Earth.

Aldborough Players cast members in the production of Excalibur – The Greatest Sword on Earth. - Credit: Archant

History does not record whose original idea it was - but 25 years ago a group of budding thespians decided there was enough talent in a north Norfolk village to support an annual pantomime.

The Aldborough Players in 2013.

The Aldborough Players in 2013. - Credit: Archant

And so it has proved, with the Aldborough Players drama group now in rehearsal for its 25th panto, Sleeping Beauty.

Seven of the original players from 1993 are still involved and there are also several newcomers adding fresh blood to the successful mix. There are usually about 60 people involved in each panto, about half of whom appear on stage.

Spokeswoman Jane Maguire said the suggestion of a village panto was first mooted at the Black Boys pub in Aldborough in 1992.

She said: 'A comparison was made between life in Aldborough and in Ambridge. If the Archers could have a village panto, why couldn't we? As a result, about 20 people met in March 1992 and thus the Aldborough Players was formed.

The Aldborough Players performing at a previous show.

The Aldborough Players performing at a previous show. - Credit: Archant

'Happily there currently seems to be no lack of people willing to get involved in all capacities and we have an encouraging number of younger people.

'It has always been astonishing to discover how much talent there is in the village, with considerable professional input as well as that from talented amateurs. We certainly had no idea in 1992 we were starting such a tradition. We shall look forward to the next 25 years.'

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Along the journey, there have been 335 songs and pieces of music.

Nearly 300 people have been involved, and there have been 24 dames, 23 writers, 21 musicians, 14 producers and 13 directors. Two of the players married each other and a stand-in was only needed at the last minute once.

An innovative aspect of the Sleeping Beauty panto will be the projection of a film to show the passage of 100 years, from the 1920s onwards. Scenes were shot around the Green and involved around 50 people from previous pantomimes.

The panto is on February 7, 8 and 9, at 7.30pm, and February 10, at 6.30pm, at Aldborough community centre. Tickets are available from the village shop and post office.

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