Community knitting group donates to panto

Staff, volunteers and regulars at Hambleton Community Action’s Friday knitting group are pictured with the vegetables that they have created for the pantomime at the Georgian Theatre Royal.

Dozens of people have been busy knitting vegetables for the Georgian Theatre Royal’s festive production of Rapunzel, including crafters from Hambleton Community Action.

Using knitted props is a long-standing tradition at the historic theatre and over the years there have been bananas, apples, fish, lightbulbs, doughnuts and hearts – all lovingly created in their thousands. These objects are often thrown by the audience at a specific part of the action or used as front of house decorations.

This year, the theme is knitted vegetables and amongst those to take up the challenge is the Northallerton-based Hambleton Community Action which has made the activity one of their autumn projects.

The charitable organisation offers a range of practical and supportive services that foster economic, social and community wellbeing, including a Friday knitting session held at the group’s community hub on Northallerton High Street.

Cathy Cutler, a member of staff at Hambleton Community Action, said: “This is a lovely social group which meets each week for a knit and natter. We do all sorts of crafting activity and when we heard about the Theatre’s pantomime knitting appeal, we were only too pleased to answer their call!

“The knitting group is one of the many initiatives that we run from the centre to improve people’s mental health and well-being. It offers a warm and inclusive space that is open to all,” she added.

Linda Sebok is a volunteer at the centre and coordinates the knitting projects. “A lot of love has gone into making these vegetables and people have really enjoyed taking part. It’s great to sit down together and have a chat while also doing something worthwhile and creative.” she said.

For the last couple of months, knitted vegetables have been arriving at the theatre in their sack fulls, from across the UK and even further afield. The latest international consignment was from Luxembourg and in previous years they have been sent from as far away as Australia and New Zealand.

“We are so very grateful for all of the knitted contributions that we have received so far,” said Clare Allen, chief executive of the Georgian Theatre Royal and the pantomime’s director.

“The variety has been astounding with beetroots, carrots, leeks, sweetcorn, broccoli and even mushrooms – to name but a few – pouring in from far and wide. Each and every one of them is really appreciated and their appearance in the show is always a favourite moment with audiences.”

The theatre will be receiving knitted vegetables until the end of November. Various knitting patterns can be picked up from the Box Office or downloaded from the panto page on the Theatre’s website: www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk/Whats-on/Pantomime Alternatively, people can make up their own designs, and all colours and sizes are welcomed.

Finished vegetables should be handed in at the Box Office or posted to arrive at the Theatre (The Georgian Theatre Royal, Victoria Road, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 4DW).

Rapunzel runs at The Georgian Theatre Royal from Wednesday 6 December until Sunday 7 January 2024.

Tickets from £15 are available from the Box Office on 01748 825252 or via the online booking service at www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk