By the Rev Ian Snares, vicar of St Wilfrid’s Church, Cowplain
One of many exciting things that our church has hosted was a pantomime. Aladdin was performed twice in St Wilfrid’s Church recently, to an enthusiastic audience of adults and children.
The cast and backstage crew started out as a group who were involved with an Alpha Course at our church – the 10-week course that helps people understand the basics about the Christian faith.
They enjoyed each other’s company so much back in 2017 that they wanted to keep on meeting, and wondered what to do next.
They came up with the idea of a panto and pulled together an improvised version of Cinderella within three weeks. They performed that in early 2018.
They repeated the idea, with an enlarged cast and a few more rehearsals, to put on Aladdin for the local community this year.
Their version featured acting and singing, complete with a pantomime dame and magic tricks.
And when they needed a vicar to marry the happy couples at the end of the play, they dragged me onto stage to perform the ceremony.
I imagine that, for many of the group, the fact that they were working together and having fun was as important as performing the show itself.
I love the fact that they felt comfortable enough with each other’s company and with the church to just decide to go ahead with something like this.
And it was a truly inter-generational cast as well – some very small children took their place on stage alongside adults of various ages.
In a way, that’s part of the role of the local church – to bring together many different kinds of people, so that as a community, they can learn more and have fun together.
It’s what we do on Sunday mornings in church, at our Messy Church, and at a whole host of midweek activities.
Until only a century or so ago, churches were one of the main venues where ‘community’ happened.
Churches hosted feasts, carnivals and village meetings, as well as weddings, funerals and other worship.
It’s only fairly recently that we’ve built community centres and village halls for secular get-togethers.
So I’m hoping St Wilfrid’s will be hosting another pantomime next year, and cementing our
reputation as the centre of fun activities here in Cowplain.
St Wilfrid's Church, Padnell Road, Cowplain,
Sunday services: 8am, 9.30am and 11.15am.
For more information go to stwilfridscowplain.co.uk.