UK Wide Debut For Theatre Royal
Panto On Hospital Screens
In a UK first, the Newcastle Theatre Royal panto Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be screened to hospital bedsides in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland this December.
The cast has filmed a special performance of the pantomime, which will be screened for free to 170,000 patients across 180 NHS hospitals on 23 December.
The screenings are the brainchild of local entrepreneur and Theatre Royal Trustee Howard Tait who said: “I have always been passionate about bringing children from hospital to see the panto and seeing their faces light up just made me want to extend this magic to those children who are too sick to leave their beds. With the help of the wonderful panto team at Newcastle Theatre Royal, this has been made possible and I am so proud to see the screenings go totally UK-wide for the first time ever this year; for many this will be a dream come true.”
And cast members of this year’s panto, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, are visiting The Great North Children’s Hospital today to meet some of their youngest and biggest fans, who will watch them perform on the 23 December. Dressed in full costume, the cast will spend time with poorly children and their families, bringing gifts and signing autographs ahead of the screening on the bedside tvs.
Emily Shaw, who plays Snow White, said: “It is a really humbling experience going to visit the children in the hospital because you can see how much it means to them. It’s lovely to think we can bring a bit of the Christmas joy we all experience at the Theatre, to them in their hospital beds both through this visit and by screening the panto to them.”
The hospital screening project is a unique collaboration between the NHS, Newcastle Theatre Royal and Hospedia – the national hospital broadcast network. Ben Packman, Hospedia’s Strategic Development Director, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide a platform for the Theatre Royal’s pantomime screening. Our aim is to make the patient experience whilst in hospital as enjoyable as possible and we particularly welcome the opportunity to make the festive period special for all the children in hospital at this time.” The screening of the panto is free to everyone with a bedside tv and will be shown at 2pm on channel 34, with repeat screenings at 4pm and 6pm.
Chief Executive of Newcastle Theatre Royal, Philip Bernays, said: “To be able to screen the show to so many hospitals is absolutely fabulous – Howard has worked very hard planning this project and we are delighted to play our part. Our panto really is one of the best in the world and we are extremely proud of it – it makes sense that the Theatre Royal should lead the way and be the first theatre to achieve this kind of truly national coverage.”
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is at Newcastle Theatre Royal until Sunday 18 January 2015. Tickets are available from £12 (a booking fee of 95p - £1.95 will apply to most tickets) and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or select your own seat and book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk