Photo gallery: Panto set to show the fun side of council staff in north Norfolk

North Norfolk District Council panto cast. Picture: ROB HENRY/NNDC North Norfolk District Council panto cast. Picture: ROB HENRY/NNDC

Thursday, January 16, 2014
6:30 AM

By day she deals with ballot boxes. But by night council official Laura Williamson picks up a bow and arrow and pulls on a Robin Hood outfit ready for some thigh-slapping pantomime fun.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

And she is not alone. For among the other merry men and women around her are the head of environmental health, who switches his recycling role from new refuse to old jokes as a knockabout dame in flamboyant frocks.

For every couple of years “pantomonium” breaks out among the seemingly sober and serious staff of North Norfolk District Council

A show which began in 2002 as a one-night village hall event brimming with mostly in-jokes, has evolved into a three-nighter at Sheringham Little Theatre which is set to raise £10,000 for charities so far.

Rehearsals are under way ahead of the show later this month.

Scriptwriter and dame Steve Hems, who has been involved with all the shows, said: “Staff in the audience love watching someone from work making a fool of themselves, but we make it entertaining for the general public too now.

“I do enjoy it, although it’s the only acting I do. It’s a chance to do something different and gives people a lift among the work pressures.”

Mr Hems, 45, said his day job as head of environmental health included dealing with dog fouling, bin emptying, licensing, and recycling. In the panto he is Nursey Norma, the royal babysitter.

“When panto time comes along I recycle old gags instead - and once I pull a frock on I become larger-than-life and outrageous. People say as panto time approaches I start getting into character in the office and stand at their desk clutching my hands under my imaginary bosom.”

The lead role of Robin, and the job of producer, are being taken by Laura Williamson from election services, whose duties include organising elections, and lists of voters.

“I have loved the stage since I was at school, when I wanted to be a professional actress.

“I am a bit shy, but it is different when you hide behind a character - a lot of actors are the same.”

Taking part in the panto was good for team building and morale at the council, but also got her recognised by the public.

“People have stopped me and said ‘you are the cat from Dick Whittington’,” she added.

Miss Williamson from West Runton felt the panto helped break down the stereotype of staid council officials.

“This is a chance to show that we are actually human ...and of course a chance to poke a bit of fun at senior management and council members.”

Wells tourist office manager Bev Els, who helps with brochures, bookings and inquiries, and is playing Will Scarlett, agreed: “It makes us human because we do mess up a bit and it brings staff together.”

Her part involved “singing badly, which I can do well,” she added.

Other staff, and ex-staff, taking part include: communications manager Peter Battrick tackling two roles as the Judge and King Richard; Paul Neale, former PA to the chief executive and now assistant minister at Cromer Church, as the evil Notif of Sheringham; and customer services adviser Neena Garnavos as Maid Marion.

Policy and performance manager Helen Thomas and her team are creating the scenery and props in their spare time and the orchestra pit is populated by the Panto Loons band from the planning and economic development teams.

■The panto - the Notif of Sheringham - runs at the Sheringham Little Theatre from Thursday January 23 to Saturday January 25 with evening shows at 7.30pm and a 2.30pm matinee. Ticket £8 from the box office on 01263 822347

Proceeds from this year’s show will go to the Nelson’s Journey charity supporting bereaved children.

16 comments

  • I apologise about the duplication, my computer is carp!

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • This is my final word on this-I have obviously hit a sore point

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • Does anybody care about this? Why can't these people just go to work and just get on with their jobs like the rest of us? 'Prove we are human'? Why do they think that we think anything of them? Delusions of grandeur because they are in a supposedly perceived important civic position? Or because they know that the tax payers hold the purse strings and feel guilty about being haughtily off-hand when actually asked to help in any way. Absolute nonsense.

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Does anybody care about this? Why can't these people just go to work and get on with it like the rest of us? 'Prove we are human'? Why would they think we think otherwise? Delusions of grandeur perhaps? Because they see their positions as being of major governmental importance? Or guilt, because of the haughtily off-hand manner they invariably employ when one has the temerity to actually contact them for advice? Perhaps it's because that they know that we know that we pay their wages ultimately? Absolute nonsense.

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • are you suggesting that they dont get on with their jobs?! because that is a serious untruth. This is a voluntary production taking place outside of working hours. What you suggest is that they are showing off because they choose to do something. if you choose to do nothing but moan in your free time, more fool you! If you dont like what they are doing, dont watch, dont read the articles and then you can keep your ridiculous comments to yourself!

    Report this comment

    Boo'sMum

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • What an utterly ridiculous comment. These are a group of people who are using their SPARE TIME (not working hours as you seem to suggest!) to have abit of fun and raise some money for a good cause. It just so happens to be people who work at the council, who you seem to have a real issue with (perhaps explaining the 'prove we are human' comment - you dont seem to realise they are just people going to work to earn a wage too!). If it had been a group of school teachers, a group of children or some other group would you have been so venemous?! Charity rely upon publicity to raise awareness of the cause, that's how they work!

    Report this comment

    Boo'sMum

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • what really annoys me, backwoodsman, is that your issue is clearly not with the charity pantomime, but with those putting it together. you have used this article as an opportunity to have a cheap, pathetic dig at a group of people who you do not know personally, do not know what connections they have to this charity, nor know anything to do with thier lives other than that they work for NNDC. As I said previously, you have not left vile comments on other charity based articles. just this one, to do with the council. Utterly un-necessary and ridiculous.

    Report this comment

    Boo'sMum

    Monday, January 20, 2014

  • So backwoodsman, this initiative which according to the report raises significant money for charity shouldn't be publicised because it involves council staff?

    Report this comment

    AE

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • No backwoodsman. They are not showing off. They are raising money for charity. If music or performing arts are their talents then good for them, using their skills for a good cause. It would seem your skills lay in being cynical and writing ridiculous, moany comments. Have you considered using them for a good cause? or perhaps you prefer to come across as an uttery misery and killjoy.

    Report this comment

    Boo'sMum

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • you are missing the point anyway. The panto is not 'to show they are human' it is to raise money for charity!

    Report this comment

    Boo'sMum

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • “This is a chance to show that we are actually human ...' Quote from above article. Why would they need to prove that they are? Is it because their jobs(,for the most part) involve obtaining money with menaces from the general public, and being as obstructive as possible when it comes to giving people benefits? There must be an element of self disgust in their lives if they have to dress up and act the fool to convince the rest of us that they are in fact fellow traveller's on Planet Earth, and not heartless shylocks.

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • Refer to comment below-they just want to show off. The people don't care, I work for a large company and we don't have a blimmin' panto to prove we are 'Human'! We just get on with our jobs, along with the overwhelming majority of people. What next, Tax collector's revue? Postmen's cabaret? Utter nonsense.

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • I apologise, it's a wonderful initiative and you are all lovely.

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Monday, January 20, 2014

  • There is far too much self-publicising in charity, If they want to raise money then just donate. This is just another form of chugging.

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Actually, Backwoodsman, I think you have essentially answered one of your own questions. 1. Yes people do care about it. People do care about raising money for charity, and the pantomime is doing so. 2) I can assure you that the individuals taking part in the pantomime do go to work and actually rehearse in their own time, voluntarily.. for the good cause. 3)Your dribble about haughtily off-hand manners and delusions of grandeur merely go to show the poor image SOME people hold of council staff who ARE just human, going to work and earning a wage to live, the same as you! These people are giving up their spare time to raise some money for a good cause.. you choose to give up your spare time to have a ridiculous little moan about it! Charities rely on publicity to raise funds!! This is a charity production put together by people who just happen to work for the council.. would you attack a school teacher's charity show also!? get off your high horse!

    Report this comment

    Boo'sMum

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

  • Does anybody care about this? Why can't these people just go to work and get on with it like the rest of us? 'Prove we are human'? Why would they think we think otherwise? Delusions of grandeur perhaps? Because they see their positions as being of major governmental importance? Or guilt, because of the haughtily off-hand manner they invariably employ when one has the temerity to actually contact them for advice? Perhaps it's because that they know that we know that we pay their wages ultimately? Absolute nonsense.

    Report this comment

    backwoodsman

    Thursday, January 16, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 10°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT