BABY, it’s cold outside – but it did not deter a Sheffield charity from warming hearts with its festive pantomime.
Some of the city’s most vulnerable adults at St Wilfrid’s Centre brought sunshine to audiences with their annual offering The Rainbow’s End. The show, loosely based on the Wizard of Oz, saw 15 people with mental health problems and learning disabilities take to the stage at the Mother of God Parish Centre, Abbeydale Road.
It provided all of the heroes and villains, he’s-behind-yous and colourful costumes which makes the panto one of Britain’s best-loved Christmas traditions, while conveying St Wilfrid’s hopes to build a residential centre to add to the work of its existing day centre.
Written by Rachel Wood, the story began at the charity, which supports homeless and socially excluded people in Sheffield, and took Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man on a quest for a pot of gold which represented the £1.8m needed to fund the planned 50-bed unit. Kevin Bradley, director of St Wilfrid’s Centre, said: “The people who performed all have their own difficulties which they have fought to overcome.
“They are the real X Factor winners!”
The drama group, led by volunteer Nikki Turner, have been hard at work for the past few months to polish their performances ahead of the run.
Reverend John Rawsthorne, the Bishop of Hallam, was a guest of honour at the final pre-Christmas pantomime. The actors will tour lunch clubs across the city with The Rainbow’s End in the new year.
Helen Lowry, secretary at St Wilfrid’s, said: “It was magnificent. The clients here have a lot of input.
“This is the 14th year we have done a pantomime. It helps to build people’s confidence so much, and we encourage them to push themselves and challenge themselves that little bit further.
“Everyone supports each other.
“We had an email from someone who came along to congratulate us on such a happy performance.”