Who Needs Summer Holidays When There’s Panto?

A volunteer at a community led theatre chooses to forgo summer holidays, trips abroad and city breaks to make sure she can attend nearly every Pantomime performance by taking her holidays during December.

Alison Carter, who has been a volunteer at the Thwaites Empire Theatre, Blackburn for over 30 years, saves up all her holiday entitlement at her job to make sure she can watch as many of the annual festive shows as possible. The Thwaites Empire Theatre, which will stage over 50 performances of Jack and the Beanstalk this year, will have Alison in the audience for more than 40 of the shows.

Speaking about her dedication to the theatre and her love of Pantomime, Alison said, “About 8 years ago I came and watched Jack and the Beanstalk and realised that all ages can have a great time. You can scream, laugh and shout. It’s a great stress reliever and so much fun.

“I see as many of the performances as I can every year and save up all my holidays so I can help before and then watch the show. I don’t have a summer holiday. Pantomime is my version of a cruise.

“I first got involved with the theatre when I was a teenager and the amazing volunteers are the reason I been involved so long. They are a great bunch.”

Michael Berry, Chairman of Thwaites Empire Theatre said, “The commitment from our volunteers always astounds me and Alison’s dedication to the theatre and especially the pantomime is amazing. The theatre is run by a large team of volunteers and Alison is just one of the amazing examples of  people that are dedicated to keeping the theatre alive. We couldn’t survive without them.”

The theatre is always on the lookout for new volunteers for a range of opportunities including front of house, serving behind the bar and box office duties. People interested in volunteering can email boxoffice@thwaitesempiretheatre.co.uk or by calling 01254 685 500.

This year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk stars BBC TV’s Egghead CJ De Mooi and is produced by the team from Pendle Productions. Performances begin on 2nd December and run right through to 3rd January 2016. Tickets are available online at www.thwaitesempiretheatre.co.uk or from the box office Monday to Saturday ( 10am to 12:30pm) on 01254 685 500.