Panto hailed success with a little overseas help

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Sell-out audiences once again flocked to Bramham Village Hall to enjoy the village Drama Group’s annual pantomime which this year was Beauty and the Beast, written and produced by Suze Shelbrooke, wife of MP Alec Shelbrooke and directed by Caroline Stangroom.

Mrs Shelbrooke, who also played one of the lead roles, was inspired to write a version of the well-known tale after reading the original French fairy story as a child.

She said: “Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite Disney movies but I also wanted to incorporate some little quirks of my own, so I created a comedy duo based on the TV personalities, Ant and Dec, together with two juniors who played their alto egos.

“It took me about two months to write the script and although the whole production was hard work it was very rewarding to see it all come to life. It was also great fun giving some of the characters French names – the dames were called Chardonnay and Cabernet.”

For help with choreographing the dance routines, Mrs Shelbrooke contacted a former member of the group, 27-year-old Jen Strangeway, a qualified Dance Instructor.

Mrs Strangeway moved to Grand Cayman 18 months ago but has kept strong links with the drama group. She met her husband, Ben, who is also a former member during rehearsals for Jack and the Beanstalk in 2010.

Jen explained how she approached the task: “I filmed the dances from various angles and emailed the videos to Emily Alderson, a dance and drama student who was in the chorus. Emily taught the dances to the rest of chorus.

“I also did the same for the junior chorus. It was quite time consuming, but really enjoyable and I can’t wait to see the DVD to find out how all the routines fitted in with the script.”

Bramham Drama Group has made significant contributions to the refurbishment of Bramham Village Hall over the past 12 months, backed up with grants from the Community Fund which distributes funds received from Festival Republic, organisers of the Leeds and Reading Festivals.

New stage flooring, lighting and controls, a new sound system and hearing loop system have all been installed this year.

The hall is suitable for a variety of uses and is available to hire at very reasonable rates by contacting: 07432 330972.