By Betsy Everett
With opening night little more than a week away the cast of the award-winning Wensleydale Music and Theatre Group’s annual pantomime are hitting their stride for the forthcoming production.
Rehearsals have moved from the nearby trading estate in the Hawes to what will be home ground for the five performances of Dick Whittington and the Caribbean Pirates, the Market House in the main street.
They practise the lively song and dance routines under the direction – for the first time – of Amy Cockett, daughter-in-law of the late John Cockett, the driving force behind the former Hawes Operatic Society which he directed for 30 years.
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The pantomime has not been without its moments of offstage drama, most notably when its 2015 production of Wind in the Willows had to be performed entirely by torchlight in a power cut on the night storm Desmond hit. It won for the company the National Operatic and Drama Association north region’s performance award, 2016.
This year they are hoping all the dramatic moments will be on stage as the tale unfolds of Dick and his cat as they set sail for Morocco to buy dates, only to find that Captain Birdseye’s route is via the Caribbean to recover buried treasure.
Colin Bailey is producer and musical director, Liz Connelly and Charlotte Reilly head the wardrobe department, with Tina Tindill having made the entire wardrobe for the pantomime dame, husband Colin.
The performers are supported by a backstage team of musicians, make-up artists, props and set designers, lighting and sound technicians, front of house staff and publicists – a huge team for a comparatively small town. A full list is here
Performances are at Hawes Market House, at 7.30 pm each day from Tuesday, November 28, to Friday, December 1, with a matinee at 2pm on Sunday, December 3. Doors open half an hour before each performance. Tickets are £9 for adults and £6.50 for under-12s from Hawes community office on 01969 667400, Monday to Friday 9am-5.30pm, Saturday 9am-12.30pm. Or book on-line at www.wensleydalemtg.co.uk
Subject to demand The Little White Bus is offering a £7 return service from Leyburn, Redmire, Carperby, Askrigg, Bainbridge, West Witton, West Burton and Aysgarth for the Tuesday performance. Advance bookings only, reservations to be made no later than today, Monday, November 20. Call 667400.