City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

King’s Theatre Edinburgh joins Royal Hospital for Sick Children for 'Panto Presents’


By Irene Brown - Posted on 22 November 2016

The Panto Presents team with Sick  Kids Hospital staff Photo by Phil Wilkinson 2.jpg

A new programme called Panto Presents, that’s supported by Awards for All Scotland and involves King’s Theatre Edinburgh and the Arts Programme at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children run by the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, will bring the magic of pantomime to children and families in the hospital over the festive period.

Following a successful pilot of engagement activity last Christmas, December and January this year will see artists and staff from the Learning & Participation team at the King’s, along with the stars from this year’s King’s panto Jack and the Beanstalk, visiting the Royal Hospital for Sick Children to develop play activities.

The visits will involve storytelling sessions; installing a giant beanstalk around the main staircase of the hospital; creating a brand new piece of live performance for the children and having cast meet and greet patients and staff while giving out tickets to see this year’s show. Children and families that are able to leave the hospital on day release will be invited to see a performance of the panto at the King’s.

To get the project started, play specialists on each ward at the hospital will be given Jack and the Beanstalk themed play packs, jam-packed with panto related props and activities for each ward to explore the story of Jack and his journey up the beanstalk resulting in a new piece of theatre called Jack and the Beansprouts.

Leaving a legacy that the staff of the hospital will have learned the skills and gained the confidence to present their own annual pantomime for the children of the Sick Kids, the Panto Presents’ team of artists, staff and technical crew from the King’s Theatre will support the staff in the hospital to create their own pantomime when they move from their present location, where they have been since 1895, to their new home at Little France in 2018.

Fiona O’Sullivan, Arts Programme Manager at the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, said, “We’re really looking forward to the workshops, storytelling, beanstalk building, and of course the cast visit planned for the coming weeks by the Festival Theatre and I know these experiences will bring lots of Christmas cheer to the hospital."

She added, “It’s fantastic when organisations like the King’s Theatre get involved in our vital Arts Programme. This is just one of the many activities we provide throughout the year to ensure children and young people’s lives are less interrupted by illness; they are less scared of hospital and have a more positive experience.”

Panto Presents is supported by Awards for All Scotland that offers National Lottery grants of between £500 and £10,000 to projects that bring communities together to enjoy a range of activities, will initially run over three years, with a view to it becoming a permanent fixture in the Education and Outreach programme of the Festival and King’s Theatres.

The King’s Theatre Edinburgh pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, runs from Saturday 26 November 2016 – Sunday 15 January 2017. For more information go to www.edtheatres.com/jack