REV JONATHAN JEFFERY: Panto heralds a season of transformation for the church

From left, Billie-Mae White as Dandini, the Rev Jonathan Jeffery and Stuart Holmes as the Ugly Sisters and Phoebe Jeffery as Prince Charming, all rehearsing for Cinderella
From left, Billie-Mae White as Dandini, the Rev Jonathan Jeffery and Stuart Holmes as the Ugly Sisters and Phoebe Jeffery as Prince Charming, all rehearsing for Cinderella

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The vicar of Leigh Park and Warren Park is excited about Cinderella

Things are not always as they seem in the world of panto.

The principal boys are women, the ugly sisters are men and a fairy godmother might be in disguise.

So it is with our pantomime. Cinderella is taking place at St Clare’s Church, Warren Park next weekend.

We have two principal boys, four ugly sisters and a striking fairy godmother.

It is a story of transformations – of a pumpkin becoming a golden coach, two mice becoming the horses and Cinderella’s tatty dress being transformed into a beautiful ballgown.

And, of course, her life is transformed as she falls in love with the prince.

We wanted to follow up our community nativity play last year with another, but different production.

We didn’t quite realise how much it would be about transformation.

We wrote an original script, but so many people wanted to play a part that we have more than 30 characters with lines!

People who have never acted before have stuck to rehearsals to be able to perform on stage or help with the backstage crew.

We decided on three performances at St Clare’s, Warren Park – which is such a warm, welcoming and inviting space.

One team has handled publicity, others are involved with scenery, lighting and sound – it’s a real community effort.

The church can seat 100 people at each of three performances, but we immediately sold out for Sunday, leaving shows at 2.30pm and 6pm on Saturday, December 2. Only about 50 seats remain unsold.

Panto is often a traditional part of the run-up to Christmas, which is the season of transformation for the church.

God’s Son is born as a baby, which transforms not just the lives of Mary and Joseph, but of all of us.

We don’t need a fairy godmother to guarantee a happy ending.

Our panto has been great fun to put together and should be entertaining to watch. For all those involved, there will be a real sense of something achieved – something that will have reached our community and transformed it.

Cinderella is being staged on Saturday, December 2 at 2.30pm and 6pm, and Sunday, December 3 at 2.30pm, in St Clare’s Church, Warren Park.

Tickets are £2 (adults) £1 (children) and £5.50 (family). To book or for more details, ring (023) 9247 5276.