Panto returns with the Essex Group Theatre Company

For far too long auditoriums have been bare, stages and seats across the nation barren, so it’s joyous to be able to book a trip to the theatre once more to watch the Essex Group Theatre Company.


If you are a keen theatre goer and one who may find themselves scouring the websites for cheap West End tickets (if such a thing exists) then why not consider looking and booking locally? Local theatres and performance groups need their community to support them now more than ever as they look to bounce back after a year of turmoil, frustration and inactivity.


With that in mind CommunityAd have dedicated these pages to a local theatre group who will delight in having Witham’s Public Hall shouting in unison all the panto classics. Teresa Andrews has called this part of the wonderful part of the world home for just over 30 years now and has been actively involved in The Essex Group Theatre Company for almost half of that time. “First as a chaperone and now as an actress mainly doing musicals and plays. But four years ago, I took part in my first panto at Witham and loved it. This year I am playing a comical Chinese policeman called ‘Wah Ya Wah’. Two years ago, while playing Grungebergan I found I loved making people laugh. I can be silly, get away with it and my inner child comes out”.


Just how good does it feel to actually be planning events and performances given the last 18 months?

A week before panto last year we were moved into tier three which meant we couldn’t perform so I have not been on the stage for over 18 months and I miss it. It will be so great getting back to rehearsing with the cast and I’m really looking forward to the buzz of an audience which is something that most performers miss. I’m so excited!


Why is it so important for the local community to support theatre productions and local theatre groups now more than ever?

Without the support of the general public local groups would not exist. Shows are funded by ticket sales. No audience equals no group. These groups can improve confidence and are in general a friendship group within a town. Throughout this pandemic theatre groups haven’t had any revenue but have probably spent money on licences, hall hire, set hire, etc.


Why would you recommend readers get involved with their local theatre company? Are you in need of volunteers currently?

Through my own experience with my son and myself we both have friends we wouldn’t have had. A lot of youngsters who have gone to the local groups in Witham have gone on to study musical theatre or acting. We are always looking for helpers. You never know, one minute you could be helping front of house, meet us, like us and then be on the stage.


Finally, why should readers be pencilling in a December date firmly in the diary?

This year’s panto has been over a year in the planning and will have loads of rehearsal time and all the cast are so excited to perform it. After last Christmas not being a family event, I can’t think of anything but a panto that can get the whole family into the Christmas spirit. Especially as it’s the week leading up to the big day.


If you’ve found the last year of being locked up alone has stirred up a passion for being heard and on stage then why not consider joining the Essex Group Theatre Company? Tickets and further info can be found on their Facebook page @sundayrehearsals. Is it good to have panto back? OH YES IT IS!

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