Theatre group boasts original panto

CBBC Presenter Michael Absalom  visits You're a Star Theatre School

Theatre school visited by CBBC presenter

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It may no longer be December, with countless pantomime performances bringing in festive cheer across the city, but the Phoenix Players at St Peters Theatre, Southsea aren’t letting that stop them from putting on a good old-fashioned production.

The amateur dramatics group has its own original pantomime, loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s version, with The Snow Queen.

Running from January 27 until February 5, it’s set in the village of Ikea. Prince Kai is celebrating his coming of age with a birthday party. Now being given the chance to choose a bride he decided to marry his life-long friend Gerda. But the mischievous Snow Queen who lives in her Ice Palace tells her two henchmen, Riff and Raff, to kidnap Prince Kai. Gerda and her friends battle to save the Prince from her clutches.

Other characters in the production include Nanny Nicky Nacky Noo, the dotty dame, Mayor Camembert the cheesy mayor of Ikea, and Rodger the Reindeer. There will also be fairies, Topsy, Sergeant Flopsy, and Bob. And let’s not forget the Big Yeti.

The performers will be accompanied by a live three-piece band, and dancers from the Classique School of Dance. All the audience will be encouraged to join in, with a participation song just before the finale.

Established in 1953, the Phoenix Players run four productions a year at St Peters Theatre, Southsea.

The theatre itself, which has been running for nearly 90 years, is facing an uncertain future, with plans in place to stop holding productions there at the end of this year.

In the past, amateur theatre groups have raised and invested over £40,000 to keep St Peters Theatre up to scratch.

Seating approximately 200, it’s one of only about six amateur venues in the country with a Fly Tower, and flying facilities for backcloths.

The theatre has recently been repainted, and has a new box office, new main curtains, plus tiered seating. The raked stage has also been resurfaced.

But, looking to the future and carrying on with their productions, The Phoenix Players will soon be rehearsing for another show, with The Queen and I being performed from May 9-12.

The Snow Queen is on from January 27 to February 5, on Friday and Saturdays at 7.30pm, and matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 2.30pm.

Tickets cost £5 to £7 from the Phoenix Players on (0845) 2939 350 or go to portsmouthpanto.co.uk.

For more information on the campaign to save St Peters Theatre go to stpeterstheatre.web.com.

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