'The dame left the cooker on!' Panto venue evacuated after fire scare

Dereham Memorial Hall had to be evacuated midway through a panto performance of Peter Pan

Dereham Memorial Hall had to be evacuated midway through a panto performance of Peter Pan - Credit: Archant/Dereham Theatre Co

Dereham Memorial Hall had to be evacuated midway through a pantomime performance after the fire alarm went off - leading to suspicions the dame had left the Jolly Roger's cooker on.

Dereham Theatre Company (DTCo) was performing Peter Pan on Friday, December 31, when the alarm started blaring. 

The Memorial Hall in Dereham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Dereham Memorial Hall in Norwich Street - Credit: Archant

Around 250 people, including the cast and audience, had to be evacuated. 

But by scarcely believable coincidence, Captain Hook aka Gary Davison - who works in his day job for Norfolk Fire Service - was on hand to check the alarm.

And, in another amusing moment, one of the next lines in the script was about the dame forgetting to turn off the cooker aboard the Jolly Roger, which "went down a real treat", said DTCo chairman Sophie Blanks. 

There have been eight performances of Peter Pan at Dereham Memorial Hall

There have been eight performances of Peter Pan at Dereham Memorial Hall - Credit: Dereham Theatre Co

By way of apology for the interruption, which had been caused by dry ice, children in the audience were offered free ice cream at the interval.

Ms Blanks added: "The front-of-house team, Bill and Margerie, said it was the first time they had seen an evacuation in 53 years."

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