The King’s Theatre Edinburgh is delighted to be working with the Arts Programme at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, run by the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, to deliver the first official year of 'Panto Presents’.

The project, which had a successful pilot of engagement activity last Christmas, will bring the magic of pantomime to children and families in the hospital over the festive period.

Throughout December and January, engagement artists and staff from the Learning & Participation team at the King’s, along with the stars from the King’s panto will be visiting the Sick Kids hospital to develop play activities, create a giant beanstalk around the main staircase of the hospital, create a brand new piece of live performance for the children, have a cast meet and greet and give out tickets to see this year’s show, Jack and the Beanstalk.

To get the project started, play specialists on each ward at the hospital will be given Jack and the Beanstalk themed play packs, jam-packed with panto related props and activities for each ward to explore the story of Jack and his journey up the beanstalk. Storytelling sessions, the creation of the giant beanstalk on the staircase and the new piece of theatre Jack and the Beansprouts will literally take the show to the hospital, and children and families that are able to leave the hospital on day release will be invited to see a performance of the panto at the King’s.

As part of the ‘Panto Presents’ project, the team of artists, staff and technical crew from the King’s Theatre will support the staff in the hospital to create their own pantomime when they move to their new home at Little France in 2018.  The legacy of the project is that the staff of the hospital will have learned the skills and gained the confidence to present their own annual pantomime for the children of the Sick Kids.

Fiona O’Sullivan, Arts Programme Manager at the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, said: “We’re really looking forward to the workshops, storytelling, beanstalk building, and of course the cast visit planned for the coming weeks by the Festival Theatre and I know these experiences will bring lots of Christmas cheer to the hospital.

“We want to provide exciting activities and distractions over the Christmas period for children and their parents, as this is the time that they would usually spend together as a family.

“It’s fantastic when organisations like the King’s Theatre get involved in our vital Arts Programme. This is just one of the many activities we provide throughout the year to ensure children and young people’s lives are less interrupted by illness; they are less scared of hospital and have a more positive experience.”

Catrin Sheridan, Learning & Participation Coordinator for the Festival and King’s Theatres, said: “It is a real pleasure to be working with Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Friends Foundation on Panto Presents. The pilot project last year was a resounding success and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to make this a long-term commitment. The children will have a great range of activities to engage in, and we hope these unique experiences will bring the magic and joy of the King’s panto into the hospital at Christmas time.”

‘Panto Presents’will run over three years initially, with a view to it becoming a permanent fixture in the Education and Outreach programme of the Festival and King’s Theatres.

‘Panto Presents’is supported by Awards for AllScotland which offers National Lottery grants of between £500 and £10,000 to projects that bring communities together to enjoy a range of activities.

The King’s Theatre Edinburgh pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, runs Saturday 26 November 2016 – Sunday 15 January 2017. For more information:

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