Sheffield school reinvents Disney classic for socially-distanced pantomime with all-staff cast

Unable to visit the theatre this year, staff at a school in Sheffield have staged a socially-distanced pantomine which students will be able to watch in their classrooms.

Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 12:30 pm

A trip to the Lyceum Theatre is an annual Christmas tradition at Totley Primary School but, due to the current pandemic, this will not be possible this year.

So instead, staff have come up with another entertaining way of raising spirits this festive season – performing and filming their take on the Disney classic, Cinderella.

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The all-staff cast of Totley-ella, Totley Primary School's take on Cinderella

The panto, called Totley-ella, is a modern twist on the tale of the girl with glass slipper and features references to Covid-19 and the importance of social distancing.

It was written and narrated by teaching assistant Nikki Crookes, who said it will be played to pupils during the last week of term.

She said: “I just had a thought that maybe this would be something the children would enjoy.

"Every single staff member is in it. I wrote it to include everybody – it wasn’t compulsory but in Totley fashion everybody was so enthusiastic which was amazing. One of the important roles is played by Mrs Booth, who has been at the school for 24 years.

Atch (pictured back) and Chew (front), the faithful servants to the Duke of Totley in Totley Primary School's Christmas panto

"She’s retiring at Christmas so she plays the part of ‘Wizard of Booth’ and during the story she is the one that solves everybody’s problems and its quite a special moment for her.”

The panto has taken about two weeks to produce, with staff taking part around their busy schedules.

Miss Crookes added: “It’s really been a lovely experience for us all, we’ve had a morale boost and it’s meant that we can take part in something together although we’ve been socially distanced and have kept within our bubbles.”

Headteacher Ben Paxman said: “I feel incredibly proud of the staff, they’ve really thrown themselves into the whole thing with great ethusiasm and energy and we’ve just had great fun.

Whole school assistant Mrs Booth as 'The Wizard of Booth'

"It’s been such a long term for everyone in the teaching profession and there is a danger of flagging before you get to the end of it all – but, this has given us a massive boost and has given us something to work for which at the end of the day is going to benefit the children as much as it has us.”

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