Kempshott Pantomime Group

The community of Kempshott rejoiced in April to the news that a new community group had been created, where thespian troops and theatrical minds could in collaboration create and put on a performance that the village might just adore.


The Kempshott Pantomime Group (KPG) is a much welcome addition to our community’s social groups, so CommunityAd wasted no time in tracking down the driving force behind the group, Sylvia Roberts.


So firstly, Sylvia, why and when did you set up the Kempshott Pantomime Group?

I moved to Kempshott during the pandemic when there was very little social activity. When things opened up, I looked for a pantomime group to join and there wasn’t one. I talked to some new friends about how wonderful the group should be and one said why don’t you start one. I took up this challenge and found there is a lot involved with starting a group from scratch. As I have previous experience this has helped me plan and there are several members of the group but we need more.


What’s your role and what do you enjoy most about it? Before setting up this group what’s your background been in terms of the theatre?

I am the Chairperson of the group and the director. I have been involved in panto for 30 years starting in the dressing room as dresser, hair and makeup, performer in 10 pantos, backstage crew, set building, stage manager and director for several pantos. I have enjoyed them all but particularly like directing and getting the production from early plans to final production. Each panto has its own cast and crew and develops because of their input, it is not one person who makes the success. The important part of directing is identifying the members’ talents and putting them to good use both on stage and off.


Why’s it so important for a community like Kempshott to have a theatre group and access to live performance?

Local community drama is so important to a community; there are so many ways residents can be involved from set builds and painting, costume making, front of house selling tickets and showing people to their seats, serving refreshments, backstage crew, lighting, music, curtains, choreography, and of course the performers. The opportunity to use talents and learn new ones, working as a team, making new friends and the satisfaction and thrill of the performances.


Why is it so crucial that the community support groups such as your own now more than ever?

The local community who come to watch the shows have live performances within easy distance at affordable prices. Pantomimes are interactive with the audience, they are encouraged to shout out and sing which is fun and releases stress. This is so important after the pandemic restrictions where people were so isolated from each other and social groups will encourage residents to come back outside and enjoy company.


The KPG may be in its infancy but Sylvia has wasted no time whatsoever in putting dates in the calendar as she has “chosen a great script of Sleeping Beauty which will be performed in January 2023 on 11th, 13th, 14th evenings and on 14th a matinee performance at Oakley Village Hall”. So, there is a sense of urgency now to get on with the show and that means the KPG need its community to get involved.

“We are still putting the group together and need more people to come forward for all the behind-the-scenes work, auditions for performers will be held in August and rehearsals start in September”.


So, if you want to be part of the Kempshott Pantomime Group’s first production make your interest known by heading to their Facebook page @KPG.pantomime.

by Dave McKenna

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