Bringing Panto To Primary Schools In A Pandemic
Last week, Silly Billy and the Sevenoaks Panto team completed a month long tour of the districts primary schools, thanks to support from Sevenoaks Town Council and the Stag Theatre, and sponsorship from Specsavers Sevenoaks.
Ant Payne, our much loved panto comic, was joined by panto dame Jamie Alexander Wilson and musical director Sam Hall.
The team performed to each schools individual ‘bubbles’, bringing a first taste of theatre to the young audiences for the first time in a year and a half. The older primary pupils were super excited to see Silly Billy again after such a long time.
More significantly, some of the younger children from Year R and Year 1, got their first ever experience of theatre and pantomime, having never seen a live performance before.
Madeleine Busvine of Saint Thomas Primary School in Sevenoaks said “The children, from the smallest to the largest, absolutely loved the performances, roared with laughter and came out saying what a great time they had had. I think it was just what they all needed as we near the end of a rather strange year. We look forward to seeing you on stage in the Stag soon!”
The team took Covid-19 tests each morning, and spent a day in each school performing a class or bubble at a time, in a series of socially distanced performances.
Children at St Pauls Primary School (Swanley), Kemsing Primary School, Weald Primary School, Downsview Primary School (Swanley), Horton Kirby Primary School, Dunton Green Primary School, West Kingsdown Primary School, Churchill Primary School (Westerham), Hextable Primary School, Shoreham Primary School, Four Elms Primary School, Saint Thomas Primary School (Sevenoaks), and Seal Primary School, were all treated to a mini panto performance, that gave them an idea of what to expect when they and their families make a safe return to theatre as restrictions ease.
The Sevenoaks Panto team is already making plans for a full scale return to panto this Christmas, with the swashbuckling spectacular ‘The Pirates Of Treasure Island’!