THE run up to Christmas officially began last week as the annual pantomime returned to Tunbridge Wells.
The curtain finally went up on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs starring Strictly Come Dancing’s Shirley Ballas as the Wicked Queen, on Friday [December 17] at the Assembly Hall.
The pantomime comes after last year’s Christmas show, a socially distanced version of Jack and the Beanstalk, was cancelled just before the first show when Kent was plunged into Tier 3, which banned live shows.
The Assembly Hall Theatre Director, JJ Almond said the pantomime, which is on until January 3 with tickets that cost from £19.50 [children] – £29.50 [adults] from assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk was a ‘stunning production’.
“It is one of the best I have had the pleasure of directing. You won’t want to miss the phenomenal glittering sets, Shirley Ballas at her most evil, a comedy troupe of dwarves, a wonderful dame, a hilarious henchman, superb vocals from the best talent around and choreography worthy of a strictly 10.
“Get out and get back to the family tradition of pantomime! We all deserve a good laugh and Snow White is sure to provide it for all the family!”
Also entertaining families this Christmas is the first production by the new director of Trinity Theatre, Sean Turner, who is putting on the Mark Twain tale, The Prince and the Pauper until January 2. He told the Times: “The show has been going down a treat with our audiences… we are blessed with a great space.”
Tickets, which cost from £18 – £22, are available at trinitytheatre.net
Record numbers take to the ice
The ice rink in Tunbridge Wells is on track to attract record numbers, its organisers say.
Skate Tunbridge Wells has proved a popular winter attraction for the town, and the Borough Council. Which runs it with around 40,000 people descending on Calverley Grounds between November and January.
The skate season was cut short last year when the rink had to be closed after being open for just a couple of weeks due to the Covid crisis.
This year there are two ice rinks open seven days a week until Monday, January 3.
The main rink, and a smaller one dedicated to toddlers during the day and transformed into a Bavarian Curling rink by night.
Mikey Powell, Technical Manager, at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council said: “We’re so excited to have the Pantomime and Skate Tunbridge Wells back again this year.
“People have been turning out up to the ice rink in record numbers and we’re on track to have one of our most successful years ever.
“With the Pantomime opening, it’s a great opportunity for people to have a safe and fun family day out.”
Nativities return to nurseries and schools
The children at St. Luke’s Nursery in Tunbridge Wells were among a number able to tell the traditional Christmas story on December 10, thanks to parents agreeing to wear masks, sanitise their hands before entering and show proof of a negative lateral flow test.
Marley Westell, Head of Nursery at St Luke’s said: “Despite these restrictions, it was such a joyous occasion which all our families embraced.”