Packed house for panto first night

Niall Heron from Cookstown (Willy Wonka) and Jack Carberry from Brackaville (Charlie Bucket)
Niall Heron from Cookstown (Willy Wonka) and Jack Carberry from Brackaville (Charlie Bucket)

It was a packed house last Saturday (January 7) on the opening night of Stewartstown Amateur Dramatic Society’s annual family pantomime, this year ‘Willy Wonka: the Pantomime’, at the Burnavon, Cookstown.

The show is playing on Fridays and Saturdays in January and is supported by funding from Mid Ulster District Council, the Department of Social Development and the Association of Independent Volunteer Centres.

Willy Wonka's umper lumpers.

Willy Wonka's umper lumpers.

Starring Niall Heron from Cookstown (Willy Wonka); Jack Carberry from Brackaville (Charlie Bucket); Oisin Quinn from Moneymore (Augustus Gloopus); Hannah Ferguson from Dungannon (Veruca Salty, who took the lead as Dorothy in last year’s ‘The Wizard of Oz); Emily Gribbin from Dungannon (Violet Broomhandler, who was lead in the 2014 Snow White panto), and with another star turn from Grandma Josephine (the panto dame), as always played by John Glendinning, it’s an exciting and thrilling new spectacle for the group that builds on the successful run of 2016.

This year’s production is directed with imagination and verve by Brian Morgan, who was delighted with the preview and opening night audiences’ reaction as they experienced this year’s chocolate box of panto delights, saying ‘We know that audiences are going to love our production right across the run. We have packed the show full of surprises and there really will be something for everyone this year, from stunning costumes and cast make-up, to laughs aplenty and a classic soundtrack.’

John Glendinning, playing Grandma Josephine said ‘I’m looking forward to the rest of the shows we have lined up. It’s all good old-fashioned family fun, and who doesn’t like a bit of a laugh to cheer us all up this side of Christmas and the New Year. Stewartstown Amateur Dramatic Society is a very special community organisation to be involved in and I feel a fantastic experience for me and indeed all those involved, young and old.’

Over the past 18 years, Stewartstown Amateur Dramatic Society have provided a cross-community project that each year has got bigger and better and this year’s show has plenty of effects to wow its audience.

Hannah Ferguson from Dungannon (Veruca Salty, who took the lead as Dorothy in last years The Wizard of Oz) and Emily Gribbin from Dungannon (Violet Broomhandler, who was lead in the 2014 Snow White panto).

Hannah Ferguson from Dungannon (Veruca Salty, who took the lead as Dorothy in last years The Wizard of Oz) and Emily Gribbin from Dungannon (Violet Broomhandler, who was lead in the 2014 Snow White panto).

Willy Wonka: the Pantomime’ runs until 28th January, with many performances sold out. Tickets are priced £10 / £8 and a group booking offer – buy 8 tickets, get 2 free is also available. To check availability and book your tickets, call into the Box Office at the Burnavon, telephone on 028 8676 9949, or book online at www.burnavon.com

More pictures in this week’s paper!