An invitation to a tea party at Queens Park Arts Centre

Director David Pustansky and scriptwriter Dario Knight at the press launch of the Queen's Park Arts Centre pantomime , Alice In Wonderland. Picture by Heather Jan Brunt
Director David Pustansky and scriptwriter Dario Knight at the press launch of the Queen's Park Arts Centre pantomime , Alice In Wonderland. Picture by Heather Jan Brunt

A Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, complete with jam tarts, was held to launch this year’s community pantomime from Queens Park Arts Centre.

Surrounded by magical props, costumes and posters from previous pantos, Limelight Theatre director Dario Knight revealed that tickets for Alice In Wonderland are on sale now, and for this month only, patrons can book tickets for the two discounted performances for just £5.

Mr Knight, who has written the script, said: “Theatre is such an expensive thing, and especially at Christmas time families are under huge pressure. For a family of four to come for £20 is at the heart of what Queens Park Centre is about.”

Last year’s pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, was a record breaker, with the centre 95% full. And it is hoped this year will be just as successful.

Alice of course is not a traditional panto, but the Lewis Carroll story has been adapted to include all the familiar Wonderland scenes, whilst changing things around to bring some characters in sooner and more often.

Mr Knight said: “Technically it’s tricky, you have to have Alice getting bigger and smaller, but the characters in the story are brilliant for panto. The Duchess is the perfect panto dame, a bloke in a dress. The Queen of Hearts is the villain.”

That technical problem about Alice was the first question Mr Knight and director David Pustansky asked themselves, and they say it’s been remarkably simple to resolve - but it’s top secret. There are about 12 parts up for grabs and auditions will be held in June. Actors must be over 17, although the Susan Diane School of dance will provide two teams of young dancers.

The fabulous thing about Queens Park Arts Centre is that everything can be done in-house, so with most rehearsals on Sundays, when the set designers, prop makers and costumes makers are also hard at work, there is a real team spirit.

The panto is on from Friday December 9 - Saturday 31, performance times vary. Tickets cost from £7 - £13 (with special discount in April). Full details of all prices and times are online at www.qpc.org