Preview: Dick Whittington, Church Hill Theatre

Dick Whittington, 'Edinburgh People's Theatre. Pic: Comp
Dick Whittington, 'Edinburgh People's Theatre. Pic: Comp
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EDINBURGH People’s Theatre present their 50th pantomime at the Church Hill Theatre next week, and no-one could be more delighted than director Mandy Black, who has been involved in no fewer than 41 of EPT’s pantos over the last five decades. That year it’s Dick Whittington, which makes it all the more momentous.

Black explains, “Dick Whittington has a special place in my heart as it was the first panto I appeared in as a principal.”

That was in 1990, but Black first took the stage in an EPT panto a few years before, as a Betty Brandon dancer.

“Before that I had spent many happy years as a member of the EPT stage crew, as a chorus member, and as front of house staff,” she recalls, “In fact, I can’t remember a Christmas not spent enjoying the warmth and love of an EPT panto.

“This year I have the privilege of directing and choreographing the show, and what a panto it is going to be. Sally North and ‘her boys’, Alasdair White and Lawrie Buchan, have excelled themselves with their incredible scenic painting and set construction respectively.

“At the end of each rehearsal, I can’t wait to pop down and see what new delight they have waiting for me. The cast and dancers, from the Mandy Black School of Dance, have been working extremely hard and are producing what promises to be a wonderful evening’s entertainment, and once you add Carol Caldwell’s stunning colourful costumes and Robert Fuller’s innovative lighting design, this promises to be an evening not to be missed.”

She concludes, “I can’t believe that I have managed 41 out of the 50 Christmas Shows at the Church Hill Theatre since it opened in 1965. EPT are a wonderful warm company and I cannot think of anything else I’d rather be doing.

• Dick Whittington, Church Hill Theatre, Morningside Road, 18-28 December, 7pm (matinees 2.30pm), £10, 0333-666 3366