Southsea pub is a perfect home for King Theatre panto star ponies

Black Star Riders: from left, Scott Gorham, Chad Szeliga, Ricky Warwick,  Robbie Crane and Damon Johnson.  Picture by Richard Stow

Black Star Riders come under Heavy Fire on their latest tour

0
Have your say

EVERY star needs somewhere to stay – and these two panto ponies are no exception.

The white Shetland mares, who are performing in 45 runs of Cinderella at Southsea’s Kings Theatre, will be lodging at The Phoenix pub in Collingwood Road when they are not on stage.

FANCY A PINT? The two Shetland ponies who star in Cinderella have moved into their new digs at The Phoenix near the Kings Theatre. They are pictured with Sarah Smith.  Picture: Steve Reid (114270-874)

FANCY A PINT? The two Shetland ponies who star in Cinderella have moved into their new digs at The Phoenix near the Kings Theatre. They are pictured with Sarah Smith. Picture: Steve Reid (114270-874)

Yesterday the pair were given a look round the stage at the Kings and a peek at their accommodation ahead of their busy Christmas schedule.

Theatre staff looked on as their four-legged stars tried on their glitzy panto harnesses and walked down the road to munch on hay at their temporary pub lodgings.

Sandra Smith, of the Kings Theatre, said: ‘We were quite nervous when they were inspecting the premises, but we are thrilled the ponies approve of their new digs!

‘I think they’re really looking forward to performing in our panto this year.’

Kath Birch, owner of The Phoenix, who has hosted panto horses and ponies many times, has converted her pool room into a mini stable covered in straw and with plenty of hay to keep the ponies well fed.

She said: ‘I’m delighted to have the ponies as our guests.

‘When we tell people in the pub about them, they have to see for themselves to believe it – it’s not all that usual!

‘I can tell already it’s going to be heartbreaking when they leave us in the new year. But in the meanwhile I guarantee there’ll be plenty of apples and dishes to their liking appearing on our menu.’

During their stay, the ponies will be looked after by News columnist Ashley Harley who works front of house at the theatre.

Ian Lucken, 67, owns the pair of 20-year-old Shetlands, who have been in showbiz since the age of three. He said: ‘They are very happy here!’

Cinderella runs from tomorrow until January 1. To book call the box office on (023) 9282 8282.

NAME THE PONIES

THE KINGS Theatre is appealing to readers to come up with names for the two ponies who star in this year’s panto.

And the best will receive a free family ticket (for four people, including at least one child) to see the festive show.

Sandra Smith, the theatre’s promotions manager, said: ‘We would love to have lots of suggestions for names and look forward to see what your readers come up with!’

Anyone who wants to suggest names in pairs should email sandra.smith@kings-southsea.com.

Or you can call (023) 9285 2208 or 9285 2232 by Monday, December 12.