News Hazlitt Theatre Sleeping Beauty Panto Press Launch

Hazlitt Theatre Sleeping Beauty Panto Press Launch image

Panto came early to Maidstone ... "Oh, no it didn’t!" ... "Oh, yes it did!!!!"

In proud partnership with Maidstone Borough Council, Hazlitt Theatre and Parkwood Theatres kicked off the countdown to Christmas last week with the Sleeping Beauty Panto Press Launch, held in the perfect storybook setting of Maidstone Museums, on Friday 7th October.

Guests were dazzled by the introduction to key cast members:






Leading lady Lucy Edge said:

“We love being on stage and there’s nothing better than an audience reaction, but there’s just so much more magic and excitement in a panto!”

To mark the occasion the Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Derek Mortimer, was in attendance and joined by students from Five Acre Wood School and West Borough Primary School to meet members of the cast and truly signal the exciting countdown to panto season.

The Mayor said ahead of the event:

“I am really thrilled to be launching the Hazlitt Theatre Pantomime this year at Maidstone Museums, especially after the disruption caused by the pandemic over the past two years. It’s great to have it back! I am delighted that the Hazlitt is supporting Dandelion Time, which is one of my nominated charities this year, which makes it extra special; they are such an amazing charity. Pantomime is a wonderful British tradition and I can’t wait to see our local celebrities in Sleeping Beauty.”

Martin Cleverley, General Manager of the Hazlitt Theatre, led the proceedings by welcoming and informing everyone that

“the Hazlitt Theatre has been managed by Parkwood Theatres since 2013, and as of 2015 the theatre has produced its own pantomime. In the 22 years I have been a part of the fabric of the Hazlitt I have never known it to be as accessible a venue as it is today”

which is why the theatre is proud to be offering two ‘relaxed’ performances for patrons with additional needs; one for special needs schools at 11.00am on Tuesday 6th December with a BSL interpreter, and one for families at 6.30pm on Thursday 15th December.

Cllr Claudine Russell, Maidstone Borough Council Lead Member for Leisure and Arts, said

“The Hazlitt Theatre is a wonderful community asset for our town and I’d encourage everyone to look online at all of the shows, events and activities that are held there.”

The Mayor of Maidstone and the Hazlitt Theatre are both proud to be supporting local nominated charity Dandelion Time who were also in attendance and were able to start fundraising early due to the generosity of some of the guests. Jo Challis, Fundraising and Events Coordinator, said “we are excited to have been selected by the Hazlitt Theatre as their chosen charity for their Pantomime this year. Receiving support in this way means a lot to us and we are delighted to be able to reach more people and make them aware of our work supporting traumatised children and their families through our nature-based therapeutic craft sessions.”

As with all pantos, the true magic was provided by the awe and excitement of the charming school students who got to meet this year’s cast and the Mayor ahead of all the other guests' arrival. In the Q&A section of the launch, the children were all ready with fun questions for our cast including “Is that your real hair?” and “What’s your favourite panto?” … which they all said was ‘Sleeping Beauty’, of course!

It was great to see so many local businesses and members of Maidstone Borough Council coming to support such a festive event and we are most grateful to everyone who could attend.  Also, a huge thank you to our panto sponsors supporting us on the day: our gracious hosts Maidstone Museum; with food and drink kindly provided by the Village Hotel Maidstone and Fred’s Wines; and for providing extra enchantment, The Fairy’s Tale.  We are also very grateful to our other sponsors Wagamamas who will be supporting us closer to panto time.

Please remember to follow us on social media to not miss any panto updates.  We cannot wait to bring the spellbinding joy of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and give Maidstone the fairytale ending to the year!

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