Pantomime to mark its 70th year with traditional show

Oh yes it is: The panto cast for this year's 70th anniversary show.
Oh yes it is: The panto cast for this year's 70th anniversary show.

A pantomime group that was formed to help cheer the community up in the aftermath of World War II is celebrating its 70th anniversary with its latest production.

The vicar of St Giles’ Church in Pontefract thought a light-hearted stage show back in 1948 show would help the locals in the fallout from the global conflict, which included continued food rationing.

And the annual event is still going strong with a large cast ready to tread the boards in St Giles with St Mary’s Pantomime Society’s production of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

Producer Jo Sytkes said: “The society has gone from strength to strength over the years bringing live theatre to Pontefract and the surrounding district.

“Things have changed and moved on - we now have hi-tech lighting and sound - amazing costumes, we use social media to promote our shows and we sell our tickets online.

“We are hoping that the 70th production will be something special to mark our wonderful history and our bright future.”

With more than 70 cast members aged from five to 75, the plot for this year’s show follows the adventures of Ali Baba, a poor boy who discovers the lair of the Forty Thieves and helps foil their terrible plan to take over the Grand Palace, while winning the hand of the beautiful princess in the process.

Mrs Sykes added: “It is a traditional pantomime, but with an up-to-date script by Alan Frayn.

“The show features 100s of costumes all made locally and scenery brought from the south of England to transform Pontefract Town Hall into the palaces of Arabia.”

Running from Sunday, January 13 to Saturday, January 19, tickets are £9/£7 and can be bought from or by calling 07776158701.