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London Pantomimers at the Intimat Theatre

London Pantomimers performed at the Intimate Theatre from 1970 until 2018

This Christmas two well established fixtures in the Palmers Green winter calendar will be missing - the popular pantomimes put on at the Intimate Theatre by two local groups, the London Pantomimers and SMP Theatre (St Monica's Players). But, of course, the shows must go on - they've just moved a few miles eastwards, the Pantomimers to Tottenham and the Players to Chingford.

The London Pantomimers have been putting on pantos in Palmers Green for more than 70 years. Their first ever show, organised by local scouts, was held during World War 2 at Trinity-at-Bowes Methodist Church in Palmerston Road. The association with scouting continues to this day, but the venue changed in 1970, when they performed for the first time at the Intimate. This winter will be the first since then when they have not been treading the boards in Green Lanes.

SMP Theatre rehearsing Cinderella

SMP Theatre in rehearsal: trying on the "glass slipper"

If you're a real pantomime aficionado, then what better way to celebrate the panto season than by comparing and contrasting two productions of the same story? Well, our two local groups have arranged a special treat for you - they'll both be performing their own, no doubt completely different, versions of Cinderella.

First off will be the Pantomimers, who will be entertaining audiences old and new at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre in Tottenham High Road, a short walk from Seven Sisters tube station. This is how they advertise their production of Cinderella:

Cinderella blends a classic, timeless tale with an evening of hilarious panto mayhem, brought to life by an original script and live performance band. Meet Cinderella, a strong young woman who follows her dreams, her repugnant ‘sisters’, (ugly? hell yes!), Trump, the hapless horse and Charming Harry, who would rather appear on Love Island than attend a Royal Ball.

The show runs from 11th to 18th December - get your tickets now, before they sell out.

SMP Theatre rehearsing with children

The bigger stage in Chingford means that SMP Theatre have room for a children's chorus

One day later, on 12th December, St Monica's Players' version debuts at the Assembly Rooms in Chingford. The Players don't go back quite as far as the Pantomimers - they're a mere 60 years old - but are just as closely associated with Palmers Green, being named after St Monica's Catholic church in Green Lanes. Pantos are just one of the strings to their bow - they are renowned for their musicals and are regular entrants to one-act drama competitions. Their most recent show was a "promenade performance" of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing in Bury Lodge Gardens, taking full advantage of the pergolas, rosebeds and bushes in this pretty little park.

The Players were very loathe to say goodbye to the Intimate and have been closely involved with the campaign to prevent demolition of this Palmers Green landmark. But every cloud has a silver lining: the very large stage at the Chingford Assembly Rooms means that they will be able to increase the size of the cast and for the first time have a children's chorus.

SMP Theatre's production of Cinderella runs from 12th to 15th December and "promises to warm the hearts of children of all ages and adults alike".

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