Fond farewell to South Yorkshire panto dame Roy Stanniforth

Roy Staniforth delighted thousands as a pantomime dame throughout a career spanning several decades.
Roy Staniforth delighted thousands as a pantomime dame throughout a career spanning several decades.
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One of South Yorkshire's most famous stage stars has died.

Roy Staniforth delighted thousands of audience members as a pantomime dame throughout a career spanning several decades.

Originally from the village of Wales, he made his acting debut as a 15-year-old in 1944 and didn't stop until the age of 83, playing increasingly outrageous characters and inspiring generations of young actors and actresses.

Roy helped set up the Wales Methodist Panto Players and the group's performances became a village tradition. But by the end of the 1960s the show had become such a favourite that it had outgrown its roots and moved instead to the Montgomery Theatre in Sheffield city centre.

It was the last performance on stage at the Montgomery before fire swept through the building in 1970, and the company was back as soon as the auditorium had been rebuilt.

An average show would regularly feature more than 50 speaking parts as well as a full chorus.

Roy in his earlier career

Roy in his earlier career

For the company’s 50th anniversary Roy even managed to squeeze a cast of 120 people onto the Montgomery Stage.

Roy wrote, directed and acted, and his productions helped keep the sense of community alive in Wales and nearby Kiveton. Roy was awarded an MBE for his work in 1997.

Speaking { http://www.thestar.co.uk/whats-on/theatre/panto-dame-roy-takes-final-bow-1-4366851|after his retirement from the stage in 2012|click here}, Roy said: "I will miss the fun of it all and seeing people’s faces as they are laughing. I will miss being on stage but I have no regrets. I have enjoyed every minute, it’s been a big part of my life.

“I will remember the happiness we have brought to people and the laughter we have had in rehearsals.

Without the makeup

Without the makeup

“It’s been such a joy."

Roy died peacefully on April 18 at the age of 89 at the Lodge Care Home in Killamarsh.

His funeral will be on May 9, starting with a service of remembrance and celebration at Wales Kiveton Methodist Church at 11:30am, followed by committal at Sheffield Crematorium in City Road at 1pm.

Memorial contributions may be made to Wales Kiveton Methodist Church.

Roy Staniforth delighted thousands as a pantomime dame throughout a career spanning several decades.

Roy Staniforth delighted thousands as a pantomime dame throughout a career spanning several decades.

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