Panto - Dick Wittington in Lewes
We reported a couple of months ago that the Lewes Community Theatre Group were auditioning for would-be actors for a charity performance of Dick Whittington. I ask Meriel Whale, the director of the panto, whether she got a good response. “Very good,” she says. “Thirty-three people turned up, and they all got parts.” The group have rewritten the panto completely to give it a local feel, and even retitled it ‘Dick Whittington in Lewes’. “We’ve put the panto into a Lewes context,” says Meriel, who has been directing plays in one capacity or another since she was 15. “Dick, played by Louise Stenson, is from a very rural background, and decides to go to the capital to make his fortune. He arrives in Lewes, and as it is the biggest town he has ever seen, he thinks it’s London.” Various complications arise, and various figures from Lewes history appear in cameo, including Tom Paine, August Rodin and William de Warrene. There are two musical numbers, and two dances: one of the actors is Mayor Merlin Milner, who plays the narrator.
The proceeds go to three charities: Lewes and Wealden MIND, Compassion in Farming, and Shenpen UK, a charity raising money for a kindergarten and a Tibetan refugee camp in India. “I’m going to take the money over to India myself, after the show,” says Meriel. Tickets for Saturday night are going fast: you may be able to get into the other performances on the door, but you’re advised to buy in advance, just in case.