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Norwich panto dame changes her outfit after British Red Cross warning

PUBLISHED: 15:32 26 November 2015 | UPDATED: 17:37 26 November 2015

Richard Gauntlett as Nurse Dorothy Dumpling.

Richard Gauntlett as Nurse Dorothy Dumpling.

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Norwich Theatre Royal’s pantomime dame has had to rethink her wardrobe after the British Red Cross complained about one of her outfits.

Richard Gauntlett as Nurse Dorothy Dumpling and Ben Langley as Muddles. Richard Gauntlett as Nurse Dorothy Dumpling and Ben Langley as Muddles.

Nurse Dorothy Dumpling is the panto dame in the city theatre’s production of Snow White this Christmas, and publicity pictures had seen the colourful character - played by Richard Gauntlett - wearing a costume decorated in red crosses.

However the Theatre Royal was this week contacted by the British Red Cross’ international legal department who requested that the theatre took immediate action to change the outfit.

Peter Wilson, chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “The emblem is a special protective symbol whose use is restricted by law. Norwich Theatre Royal wishes to apologise for its unauthorised use in the costume of the pantomime dame in this production of Snow White.”

Nurse Dorothy Dumpling is now sporting a costume with blue crosses in publicity pictures and the outfit will not be used on stage in the show which is due to open at the city theatre on December 15. Parts of the pantomime programme are also being changed.

A spokesman for the British Red Cross said: “We have no desire to be the villains of the pantomime or to appear heavy handed, but we do have an obligation to protect the Red Cross emblem.

“The emblem is a special sign of neutrality and protection recognised by all sides during armed conflicts.”

They said they applauded Theatre Royal for quickly arranging to change the costume.

The British Red Cross website states that the emblem of a red cross with arms of equal length on a white background is the visible sign of protection under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, that it is the emblem of the armed forces’ medical services and its use is controlled by governments.

It says the British Red Cross is authorised by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence to use the emblem within specified limits, and in return for this permission it helps to monitor unauthorised use or misuse (whether deliberate or inadvertent) of the red cross emblem and similar symbols throughout the UK.

Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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