Which is the fairest panto of them all? Charity makes inexpensive theatre accessible for Harold Hill families

PUBLISHED: 15:00 26 November 2019

Members of the Blue Tees performing Aladdin. Picture: Top-Pic

Members of the Blue Tees performing Aladdin. Picture: Top-Pic

Geoff Smith top-pic photography & video production

A charity is making theatre the fairest of them all with inexpensive panto accessible for families this Christmas.

The Blue Tees production of Snow White and the Seven DwarfesThe Blue Tees production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfes

The Habbit Factory is an inclusive theatre charity working with children of all abilities, aged six to 17, teaching acting, singing and dancing.

Its staff, called the Blue Tees, hold arts workshops for the 200 members to help them gain the confidence to perform in front of audiences and for Christmas they're putting on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the MyPlace Centre, Dagnam Park Road, Harold Hill, on December 21 and 22.

Blue Tees artistic director Lee Giles told the Recorder: "A lot of the families we work with can't afford to go to the theatre so we wanted to make a fun, classic panto show that they can afford.

"Our thinking is if you can't afford to go to the theatre, then the theatre will come to you!"

Members of The Blue Tees performing Aladdin. Picture: Danielle SophieMembers of The Blue Tees performing Aladdin. Picture: Danielle Sophie

Lee said audiences can expect all the ingredients for a perfect family panto, with a dastardly villain, a hapless comic, with all the gags and silliness for children and jokes from the Dame that will go over their heads.

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The Dame will be played by Lee this year, with Hannah-Marie Salmon as Snow White and Jessica Wallis as the Evil Queen.

The cast and crew of the show are all local to Harold Hill and tickets can be had for less than a tenner.

Lee said: "Everyone should be able to access art regardless of how much money you have."

The Blue Tees staged their first panto, Aladdin, last year and the original idea was to perform for members and their families. But the show was so popular they decided to open it up to the community.

The Blue Tees recently performed at the Romford Christmas lights switch-on and they're hoping their accessible panto becomes an annual tradition.

Lee said: "There are some gem performances from our professional actors and volunteers but we just want to be accessible to all.

"It's easy theatre and easy to access."

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