Edinburgh People’s Theatre celebrate 50 years

Dick Whittington, 'Edinburgh People's Theatre. Pic: Comp
Dick Whittington, 'Edinburgh People's Theatre. Pic: Comp
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NEXT month, EPT celebrate 50 years of panto at the Church Hill Theatre - Oh yes they do! And the company are rightly proud of reaching the milestone, having entertained generations during the festive season.

This year’s offering is Dick Whittington, a pantomime they first staged way back in 1972 when John Ramage, who would later go on to star as the legendary Stanley Baxter’s side-kick in The King’s panto, played the title role. June Crawford played his trusty feline friend.

A huge part of EPT’s panto history is Mandy Black, who directs and choreographs this year’s show, and who celebrated her 40th EPT pantomime last year.

Dick Whittington finds the eponymous hero heading for London town to see if the streets really are paved with gold. Along the way he befriends ‘cool cat’, Tom, later joining Alderman Fitzwarren’s store, working alongside his kind-hearted daughter, Alice, his cook, Dolly Dumpling and her daft son, Idle Jack.

Falling foul of Queen Rat, Dick and Tom are forced to leave London in disgrace, but are persuaded to return and clear their names by Fairy Bowbells.

Will Dick ever clear his name and win Alice’s love back? Can the goodies thwart the dastardly deeds of Queen Rat and her army of ratlings? Will the Sultan really find his new Sultana?

You’ll have to head to the Church Hill Theatre to find out.

However, it was on Monday 27 December, 1965, in a production called The Enchanted Waltz: A Fairy Pantomime, that the Edinburgh People’s Theatre made their seasonal debut, giving the newly converted Church Hill Theatre its first Christmas show.

With tickets priced 6/- and 4/-, the production was directed by G Dickson Brown, with Pat Cresswell as musical director and dancers from The Betty Brandon School of Dancing.

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