YMCA Norfolk’s first-ever pantomime is a hit
Young people and staff from YMCA Norfolk have staged a first-ever pantomime at St George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth about the life of YMCA founder George Williams.
The performance, which took place on December 3, told the story of Williams who, appalled by the terrible conditions in London for young working men in Victorian times, wanted to create a place where his fellow drapers could safely live.
That place was the YMCA, which he founded in 1844. Williams was knighted in 1894 by Queen Victoria for his work and after his death in 1905, was commemorated by a stained-glass window in the nave of Westminster Abbey.
The pantomime centred on The Book of Days book which Williams had to protect from his former partner Mary Stride and other dark forces.
The production was written and directed by YMCA Norfolk staff members Mike Howard and Andde Syder and was performed by a cast of staff members and young people from the YMCA.
Mike said: “The young people have been involved in creating the pantomime, including acting, music, designing backdrops and making costumes. It has developed their skills, increased their confidence and built positive relationships with other young people.”
Before the performance began, YMCA Norfolk chief executive, Tim Sweeting, spoke about the Christian organisation’s work supporting young people.
“Much like Mary and Joseph searching for shelter 2,000 years ago, many of the young people we meet are desperately in need of a safe place to stay, which is why we have launched our Christmas Appeal ‘Home For Christmas?’,” said Tim.
The evening, which was attended by Mayor of Great Yarmouth, Marlene Fairhead, was dedicated to the life of YMCA colleague Les Gostling who sadly died recently. Les had helped to build some of the pantomine scenery.
Tim said: “Les has been a much loved and valued member of the YMCA family for nearly 20 years. Over his 50 years of service to young people and the local community he has had a significant and life changing impact upon hundreds of young people and will be greatly missed.”
After the performance finished, YMCA Norfolk colleague Peter Atthill spoke about scientists going off in search of the origins of life on a distant comet and how over 2,000 years ago three wise men also followed a star to find Jesus the saviour of the earth.
Find out about the ‘Home For Christmas?’ Appeal
Pictured above are scenes from the YMCA Norfolk Christmas pantomime.