Pantomime stars tell stories to Norwich children

Two pantomime stars brought interactive storytelling to the children's library in Norwich's Forum, providing a magical distraction from the wind and rain outside.

David Gant, who plays Professor Leonardo and Tom Beard, playing Rumbole in this year's production of Sleeping Beauty, were performing for children and their families in between their busy schedule of twice daily performances at the Norwich Theatre Royal.

The pair had contrasting ways of telling tales. Mr Gant recited a collection of rhymes and stories, while Mr Beard had the children joining in with his energetic collection of retakes on traditional stories, including Goldilocks and The Three Bears.

Both proved popular with the audience, with parents as well as their children, laughing and joining in with the interactive parts of the readings.

For Mr Gant, this is his third time at the Theatre Royal with this pantomime, which is running until January 15.

He said: 'Norwich is such a warm and inviting place, and the theatre itself has such a beautiful auditorium.'

Mr Beard, in his wonderfully extravagant costume, agreed, adding: 'The people of Norwich are so friendly. Sometimes I'm walking through the city and people just come up to me for a chat.'

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The children were fully engaged throughout the performances.

Grandmother Janice Lambert from Costessey took her grandchilden to see the performances. She said: 'It was so enjoyable, and really encourages children to go back to books, rather than be glued to their computers.'

Her granddaughter Milly Hill, seven, who is going to see Sleeping Beauty for the second time, said: 'It was lovely, I liked them all.'

The Forum Library has close links with the Theatre Royal, encouraging events like this which helps young people to develop a relationship with books.

Mr Beard said: 'Reading at school for me was very special, and so essential. I think being read to is the ultimate 3D, and so exciting. Interaction for young people is so important. TV can take away the childlike curiosity, which is so special.'

Tell us what you thought of this years panto by writing to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1 RE or email

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