Panto stars bring Christmas cheer to care home

Joe Pollard and Sian Reeves performing for residents and staff at the Hawthorns Care Home in Unthank Road, Norwich

Joe Pollard and Sian Reeves performing for residents and staff at the Hawthorns Care Home in Unthank Road, Norwich - Credit: Rebecca Lyon/Norwich Theatre Royal

Pantomime characters swapped the Norwich Theatre Royal stage for a care home in a special Christmas show to reduce loneliness and isolation.

The festive visit to the Hawthorns Care Home on in Unthank Road was made by cast members of Dick Whittington and his Cat and is among other visits to care homes across Norfolk.

Sian Reeves with Fayth Holmes, home manager at Hawthorns Care Home in Unthank Road, Norwich

Sian Reeves with Fayth Holmes, home manager at Hawthorns Care Home in Unthank Road, Norwich - Credit: Rebecca Lyon/Norwich Theatre Royal

As well as singing songs from the show residents were given a DVD recording of the show.

Soap star Sian Reeves, who plays the role of evil Queen Rat, said: "We are doing all we can to keep everyone safe this year but we know that it may not be possible for some residents in care and residential homes to come to the theatre right now, so it is lovely that we can deliver these DVDs to those who may have missed out.”

Sian Reeves and Joe Pollard singing pantomime songs to staff and residents at the Hawthorns Care Home in Norwich

Sian Reeves and Joe Pollard singing pantomime songs to staff and residents at the Hawthorns Care Home in Norwich - Credit: Rebecca Lyon/Norwich Theatre Royal

Joe Pollard, who plays Idle Jack, said: "We don’t want anyone to miss out on the fun with Dick Whittington and his Cat. We hope you all enjoy the show."

The theatre's 2021 Christmas Appeal is focusing on helping people experiencing isolation or those at risk of feeling lonely through activities with various communities.

Residents from the Hawthorns Care Home in Norwich, enjoy a performance from Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime cast

Residents from the Hawthorns Care Home in Unthank Road, Norwich, enjoy a performance from Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime cast in 2021 - Credit: Rebecca Lyon/Norwich Theatre Royal

Fayth Holmes, home manager at Hawthorns Care Home, said: “I would like to say a big thank you from all the residents and staff at Hawthorns Care Home part of the Maria Mallaband care group.

"It has been wonderful seeing the actors from the pantomime. The residents have absolutely enjoyed it, singing and clapping along to all the music and presenting us with this lovely DVD.

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"It means a lot for them not only to have the DVD and positive spirit come visit us it makes Christmas really special.”

The residents watched the DVD recording on Boxing Day.

Joe Pollard as Idle Jack and Richard Gauntlett as Sarah the Cook in Dick Whittington and his Cat.

Joe Pollard as Idle Jack and Richard Gauntlett as Sarah the Cook in Dick Whittington and his Cat. - Credit: Laura Francis

Dick Whittington and his Cat has been written and co-directed by Norwich Theatre Royal stalwart Richard Gauntlett, who also stars as the dame character - Sarah the Cook.

It also features Great Yarmouth-born Joe Tracini, who has become well known for his work as a mental health ambassador.

Joe Tracini as Tommy the Cat in Dick Whittington and his Cat.

Joe Tracini as Tommy the Cat in Dick Whittington and his Cat. - Credit: Laura Francis

The pantomime runs until Sunday, January 9.

To donate to the Christmas appeal visit www.norwichtheatre.org/christmas-appeal