For the third year running, New Addington
Salvation Army Community Church has put on a free pantomime for the community.
Following the success of Cinderella in 2010 and Snow White in 2011, this year the cast and crew took on the traditional English story of Robin Hood, putting on 4 performances to well over 1000 people.
The traditional story was given a few unexpected twists – Robyn was a girl, Maid Marion was Master Marlon and no one who saw them will ever forget Madame Brando and Aunty Mo– aka The Ugly Sisters, whose tribute to the Darcy Bussell& Dawn French ballet scene from The Vicar of Dibley had to be seen to be believed!
None of the cast are professional actors, or even regular amateurs. The cast included, amongst others, a transplantation Doctor, teachers, clerical workers, a hospice nurse, an electrician, a postal worker and even a tax advisor, plus over 20 children. The supporting front of house, backstage and administrative teams also gave a huge amount of time voluntarily to bring the show to the community, with around 60 people in total being involved.
Captain Matt Spencer, who leads the church with wife Emma, said 'We wanted to bring some Christmas cheer to the community again this year. The Jubilee, Olympics and Paralympics lifted people's spirits, but times are still hard and we're over the moon that the panto once again gave local people a chance to enjoy a good laugh together and celebrate this community.'
Emma adds 'The panto is our Christmas gift to the community. This year we invited people, if they wanted to and were able, to bring a small food donation to add to our Food Bank stores to help us as we support local people in crisis both at Christmas time and throughout the year. People were extremely generous, which bodes well for the future , as we're planning to open a Food Bank in New Addington in 2013 as growing numbers of people are struggling in this regard.'
New Addington Salvation Army Community Church has served the people of New Addington and Fieldway for over 50 years. It also runsSingCROnise, New Addington's Community Choir, which regularly participates in the New Addington Carnival and Peoples' Day celebrations and which is open to anyone over the age of 18.
In addition to the free pantomime, the church is holding Community Carol Services this weekend in Fieldway (Timebridge Community Centre, Saturday December 15th 3pm) and New Addington (The ACA, Sunday December 16th 3pm). There will also be 'Carols on the Parade' at 3pm on Sunday 23rd December at New Addington's new 'Town Square' facility, and 'Carols in the Community' – carol singing around Fieldway estate on Christmas Eve, leaving from Timebridge Community Centre at 3pm.