Latest chapter in Seend panto fun opens this week

Jackie Hamblin, seen in last year's panto, has been with Seend Fawlty Players since the very first production in 1980

Seend Fawlty Players' 1981 production featuring Jackie Hamblin as Snow White

Puss in Boots in 1987. Jackie Hamblin’s late father, Joe Burbidge is on the left

First published in Melksham by , Devizes area senior reporter

Audiences in Seend, entertained with fun scripts and performances by the village’s pantomime group for 35 years, are looking forward to the annual show this week.

The latest production, Dick Whittington and his Cat, will feature the Seend Fawlty Players’ traditional fun and audience participation.

As usual the players have kept largely to the traditional story but added a few idiosyncrasies of their own.

A few of the cast involved in the first panto on 1980 will be taking part including Jackie Hamblin, a 49-year mother of three, of Hillcrest, Seend.

Mrs Hamblin’s first role for the players was as the fairy godmother in Cinderella when she was 13.

She said: “I got involved with the players with about five or six friends as back then there was nothing else to do. It was a bit of a giggle and good fun.”

Her first starring role was the following year when she played Snow White.

Mrs Hamblin, who is under 5ft tall, said the panto was memorable for her because all the dwarfs were over 6ft and towered over her.

She also appeared on stage when she was pregnant with her first child, Josh, and played an unnamed girl in Babes in the Wood in 1991.

Josh is now 22 and in training to be a teacher at Bath Spa University while Mrs Hamblin’s other children, Nathan, 20, and Molly, 16, have appeared in several pantos.

Josh and Molly both have parts in the latest panto, while their mother is playing the cat.

Mrs Hamblin, a technician at Lavington School, also designs the posters for the show every year.

Her late father, Joe Burbidge, appeared in the early pantos and also helped to make the scenery with Ron Westacott.

The players don’t audition for parts. Previous members are asked if they would like to take part and if anyone approaches the committee they are recruited.

Rehearsals take place weekly from the end of October.

As well as fine entertainment, the pantos have raised several thousand pounds for local organisations and charities.

This year the recipients will be Children’s Hospice South West and Revival, a Trowbridge charity that supports adults who were abused as children.

A donation will also be made to Seend Primary School towards their new staging.

The production is from February 20-22 at the community centre, Rusty Lane, at 7.30pm (7pm on the Saturday).

Tickets are available from Seend Shop, the community centre or the Brewery Inn, Seend Cleeve.

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