Costume drama as roof collapse ruins outfits

Wales Methodist Panto Players director Nick Challenger and business manager Jayne Lemm appeal for help to replace and repair  costumes damaged when the roof of the hall collapsed
Wales Methodist Panto Players director Nick Challenger and business manager Jayne Lemm appeal for help to replace and repair costumes damaged when the roof of the hall collapsed
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They are a pantomime group who have been providing Sheffield audiences with great theatre, action and humour for almost 70 years.

But now Wales Methodist Panto Players have had their own real life drama – and it’s no laughing matter.

Oh, no it’s not.

Thousands of pounds of costumes, collected by the group over the last 40 years, have been damaged and destroyed after their storage room roof collapsed.

Gorilla outfits, medieval knight armour, dragon costumes and several dame dresses have all been ruined under the dust and damp.

And it means next year’s annual panto, which would be the amateur group’s 70th anniversary show, has been thrown into doubt.

“It’s devastating,” said Jayne Lemm, business manager with the players, based in the old school room at Wales-Kiveton Methodist Church.

“Some of these outfits cost us £400 and they are all professionally made.

“We’ve collected up a full range over more than four decades, just to see them go in one accident.”

The group are famous in Sheffield and Worksop, having staged a spectacular panto in both places every year since the 1940s.

In January their version of Babes In The Wood, performed at the Montgomery Hall, on Surrey Street, was a huge success.

But the ceiling disaster has meant next year’s 70th anniversary spectacular, Mother Goose, might be cancelled.

It is thought last week’s heavy rain caused the old roof of the church’s old school room to collapse. Costumes have been kept there for years.

“We went to the chapel on Wednesday night as we were doing a fundraising event for the group and we wanted to get some costumes for the kids to wear,” said Jayne.

“When I opened the door it looked like there had been an earthquake. The ceiling had come in and the costumes were covered in rubble.

“We can’t get in there to have a look at the full extent of the damage because it’s too dangerous.

“It’s lucky no-one was in at the time because they could have been killed.”

Director Nick Challenger added: “The church and the group simply has no funds to deal with this.

“We’d like to appeal to any local builder who can come and help us to put the roof right and make it safe so we can get to the costumes.”