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How a lost beanstalk could end up putting one of Britain’s oldest working theatres in financial jeopardy

PUBLISHED: 09:53 07 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:27 07 March 2019

The Christmas panto at The Angles, Wisbech, complete with beanstalk. The original beanstalk the theatre hired got lost in transit and the theatre now faces a bill of up to £3,000 to replace it. Picture; GARY SAMUELS

The Christmas panto at The Angles, Wisbech, complete with beanstalk. The original beanstalk the theatre hired got lost in transit and the theatre now faces a bill of up to £3,000 to replace it. Picture; GARY SAMUELS

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One of Britain’s oldest working theatres – the Angles at Wisbech – is facing a financial crisis because a pantomime prop got lost in transit.

The Christmas panto at the Angles, Wisbech, featured an inflatable beanstalk. The original beanstalk the theatre borrow got lost in the post and a replacement (similar to this) will cost the Angles up to £3,000. t. Picture; IAN CARTERThe Christmas panto at the Angles, Wisbech, featured an inflatable beanstalk. The original beanstalk the theatre borrow got lost in the post and a replacement (similar to this) will cost the Angles up to £3,000. t. Picture; IAN CARTER

The cash strapped theatre faces an unexpected bill of up to £3,000 to replace a theatrical beanstalk that disappeared somewhere en route from the West County to the Fens before Christmas.

The company who handled the delivery apologised and refunded the £20 charge but insists the risk is down to the theatre – who didn’t think it necessary to insure the prop for their run of Jack in the Beanstalk.

“This has left the theatre in a position of having to pay for a replacement beanstalk,” said Jamie Cook, one of the theatre trustees. The theatre is considering a JusGiving appeal to help them find the cash to replace the beanstalk.

“As a small charity and a community theatre, this is a large sum of money to us, especially as we are in our quietest time of year,” said Mr Cook.

The Christmas panto at The Angles, Wisbech, complete with beanstalk. The original beanstalk the theatre hired got lost in transit and the theatre now faces a bill of up to £3,000 to replace it. Picture; GARY SAMUELS The Christmas panto at The Angles, Wisbech, complete with beanstalk. The original beanstalk the theatre hired got lost in transit and the theatre now faces a bill of up to £3,000 to replace it. Picture; GARY SAMUELS

“The theatre was virtually closed in January and with just a handful of shows in February and March this is possibly the worst time for us financially.

“We are not currently in a position where we would be able to pay this amount in full and it is a worry for our trustees.

“Any help we could receive towards this would be greatly appreciated. We strongly believe that the theatre is fantastic community asset, as one of the oldest working theatres in the country and one of very few arts venues in the fenland area.”

Mr Cook said the theatre hired an inflatable beanstalk for their 2018 pantomime. It was hiredfrom a society in St Ives, Cornwall and collection was arranged.

“The parcel was collected successfully but that’s as far as it went. The beanstalk never arrived at the theatre. We contacted them and after an investigation period they confirmed that the beanstalk was in fact lost. How one loses a beanstalk I shall never know but there we are.”

The full quote for replacement is £2,595 plus VAT to include a cold air filled inflatable beanstalk, made from stock green nylon with a fan in the base for inflation and anchor points around the top for suspending it.

Founded in the 18th century the Angles is accepted as the eighth oldest working theatre in the country.

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