Rapunzel panto declared huge success as 200,000 children tune in

The cast of Rapunzel The Lockdown Panto, from left; Charlie Randall as Prince Parp, Loraine Metcalfe as Gruesome Gothel, Emma Riches as Rapunzel and Harry Williams as Fantazmo. 

The cast of Rapunzel The Lockdown Panto, from left; Charlie Randall as Prince Parp, Loraine Metcalfe as Gruesome Gothel, Emma Riches as Rapunzel and Harry Williams as Fantazmo. - Credit: Andi Sapey / SLT

More than 200,000 children across the country have watched a panto production of Rapunzel made in Norfolk.

Alison Bell, head of music service at Norfolk Music Hub, said she was thrilled with the success of the show, which had been made in partnership with Sheringham Little Theatre and Great Yarmouth's St George’s Theatre.

Sheringham Little Theatre and St George's Theatre director Debbie Thompson, right, with Sheringham Primary School teaching assistant Samantha Holbrook and her nine-year-old daughter Sophia, and Year 5 teacher Jade Murray.

Sheringham Little Theatre and St George's Theatre director Debbie Thompson, right, with Sheringham Primary School teaching assistant Samantha Holbrook and her nine-year-old daughter Sophia, and Year 5 teacher Jade Murray. - Credit: Karen Bethell

Ms Bell said: "Rapunzel has been exactly the kind of project that we have all needed to lift everyone’s spirits and bring our children and young people together at this extremely challenging time.

“The take-up from pupils across the country has exceeded any of our expectations and the feedback from participants has been truly astounding."

Pupils from Howard Junior School in King’s Lynn were among those who watched Rapunzel The Lockdown Panto.   

Pupils from Howard Junior School in King’s Lynn were among those who watched Rapunzel The Lockdown Panto. - Credit: Howard Junior School

The panto was originally planned to be streamed to Norfolk schools for an expected audience of around 5,000 children.


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But interest in the project quickly grew, and the performance ended up being beamed to 201,340 youngsters at 1,472 schools.

Rapunzel was shown live to small, socially-distanced audiences at St George’s and the Little Theatre before Christmas. 

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Many schools, including Sheringham Primary School, did a bucket collection for the panto. The school collected £250 after its 600 pupils watched the performance. 

Jade Murray, Year 5 teacher, said:  "Our pupils come to lots of events and performances at the theatre, and a lot of them are members of the drama club, so it is really important to us to support it. 

"The pantomime was amazing, there was a lovely atmosphere, the children were all engaged and, although they couldn't sing, they had great fun holding up signs saying, 'Boo' and 'It's behind you!'."

Sheringham Little Theatre and St George's Theatre director Debbie Thompson, left, with Sheringham Primary School teaching assistant Samantha Holbrook and her nine-year-old daughter Sophia, and Year 5 teacher Jade Murray.

Sheringham Little Theatre and St George's Theatre director Debbie Thompson, left, with Sheringham Primary School teaching assistant Samantha Holbrook and her nine-year-old daughter Sophia, and Year 5 teacher Jade Murray. - Credit: Karen Bethell

Also watching were 30 youngsters from Yarmouth's St George’s Primary, whose head, Mel Fearns, said: “It has been a privilege for the children to see a live performance in these strangest of times. It has been a hard year and this has really made our Christmas."

Many children dressed up as characters from Rapunzel to watch the Norfolk-produced show. Pictured are pupils from credit Northgate Rockets in Buckinghamshire.

Many children dressed up as characters from Rapunzel to watch the Norfolk-produced show. Pictured are pupils from credit Northgate Rockets in Buckinghamshire. - Credit: Northgate Rockets

Debbie Thompson, the director of both theatres, said she was thrilled with the reception the panto had got and said it showed how well tacking a traditional performance in a new way could work.

A recorded version of the show is available to watch online, visit sheringhamlittletheatre.com to find out more.

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