Burnley Pantomine Society celebrates 40th anniversary on Radio Lancashire

Kevin Kay as the dame with wardrobe mistressLesley Johnstone. (s)
Kevin Kay as the dame with wardrobe mistressLesley Johnstone. (s)
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It was a wacky day for a group of Burnley actors as they donned colourful costumes and makeup for an anniversary celebration.

The award-winning Burnley Pantomime Society invited the Burnley Express and BBC Radio Lancashire to a media day at the Burnley Mechanics on Tuesday, August 14th.

Martin Chadwick. (s)

Martin Chadwick. (s)

The members showcased their upcoming panto, Jack and the Beanstalk, to mark the 40th anniversary of the society - and they took no time getting into character, with Kevin Kay charming people as the dame.

Radio Lancashire star John Gilmore was among the VIPs who discovered the 40 year history of the panto society, during a live radio show featuring theatre stalwart Martin Chadwick and wardrobe mistress Lesley Johnstone.

Martin, said: "I was there at the beginning and the last four decades seems to have gone really fast! I've done bits for the society over the years and I've loved every minute of it. My favourite panto is Jack and the Beanstalk as it's a great story so I'm excited to do it again!

"It's one the classics. We've experimented over the last two or three years and branched out but it's nice to get back to a traditional tale for our 40th anniversary to show people just what pantos are all about; and Jack and the Beanstalk is always a family favourite."

Radio Lancashire star John Gilmore with Kevin Kay. (s)

Radio Lancashire star John Gilmore with Kevin Kay. (s)

Current president Hazel Hodder set up the group four years ago and Martin said he has since it go from strength to strength ever since.

Am-dram actor Neil Tranmer has been involved in every show, ever since playing Buttons in the first one.

This year he will take the director's seat and will be joined by Laura Kay, who will make her directorial debut with the group.

Meanwhile Jonathan Chalker will return as the musical director and dancers from Lynn McCheyne School of Sanderson Dance and Fitness will strut their stuff on stage.

Kevin Kay. (s)

Kevin Kay. (s)

The show will be packed with music, comedy and audience interaction and will run from January 11 - 20th at the Burnley Mechanics.

Martin added: "The reaction you get from the audience is tremendous and it's better now than it was 40 years, as we seem to be better at getting the audience involved.

"Pantos are very easy-going and it's nice to see children enjoying themselves in the audience.

"When we started out, most of the chorus members were adults but gradually over the years we've introduced children and teenagers and it's nice to see them having a lot of fun on stage. They have a whale of a time!

"That's what pantos are all about - they're just good fun!"

For times and tickets visit www.burnleymechanics.co.uk