Echoes of Oh No They’re Not! rang out from the parish hall of St Thomas’s Greetland last week as church and community come together to uphold the long held tradition of the village pantomime.
Since before the Second World War there has been a pantomime brought to the community of Greetland and West Vale, Halifax, by Cross Hills Methodist Church – but the consolidation and rebuilding of the Methodist church brought the Methodists and St Thomas’s together for work and worship and created a covenant between Cross Hills and St Thomas’ – and the annual production of the pantomime is now a joint endeavour and held in St Thomas’s Parish Hall.
And last week - February half term – the parish hall was transformed into Treasure Island with its cast drawn from the Methodists Junior Church, youngsters from St Thomas’s, local schools – and some willing adults!
The vicar of St Thomas's, the Revd Lesley Cheetham said: "I think it is a brilliant initiative which is always very well supported in the local community and most of all by youngsters and their families. The creative flair and expertise of the Methodists congregation brings life to the panto and many youngsters take part by performing in it or helping back stage.
“And it’s great working together and we are so pleased that our Methodist friends want to involve us and share our building and make good use of our church hall space with its great stage," she said.
Fiona Ellam, who alongside her husband, Mark, have coordinated the St Thomas' side of the panto this year, said: “It’s wonderful that we have a space to host these community events.
Last week it was the Darton and Staincross community panto - organised by the United Benefice - with a sparkling role for the assistant curate, Fr John Fisher, pictured here as Spirit of the Ring.
It was only the second time the community had come together for panto - a long tradition in the former mining communtiies that was reinstated last year in St John's Parish Hall in Staincross with their interpretation of Cinderella!
This year saw packed houses again for the three night run of Aladdin from February 15-17 - with special guests, the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson and the Mayor of Barnsley, Cllr Jeff Ennis on Friday evening.
Fr John said he was thrilled that people wanted to keep the tradition going and of the commitment of people from the local community to help stage such a great show.
"There were so many stars of this show, Widow Twanky who is the Bell Captain at All Saints, Darton, Abanazar, a congregation member to both churches, Aladdin the PCC Treasurer at Darton and The Emperor who was played by Bob Hawes, church warden at Staincross.
"Other members of the cast were from both churches and local people, making this a truly "United Benefice",' he added.
Meanwhile in Leeds, members of the Epiphany Church, Gipton were performing Old Mother Hubbard during half-term from Wed 13th to Sat 16th Feb. We don't know why the cast where dressed in cowboy outfits for this pre=show picture but a great time was had by all!