This year there is no panto to look forward to! From its inception the talented personnel of Littleport’s local amateur dramatic company has entertained right royally with summer musicals and winter pantomimes.
This year has sadly seen both the professional theatre companies and theatres go dark during the lockdown scenarios. And perhaps even worse, all the amateur groups have had their efforts curtailed and their local communities thus deprived of home-grown live entertainment.
Here is a statement from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association, published by The Littleport Players on their Facebook page. Don’t forget to check the page for updates!
There is no question of the importance of Amateur Theatre within our local communities.
Amateur theatre performing groups produce over 3500 productions annually which are watched by audience figures of more than 2 million every year. These performances include pantomimes, plays and musicals. We are proud to be part of the umbrella body, the National Operatic & Dramatic Association (NODA) The combined membership of this organisation is over 100,000 ranging in age from 8-80.
NODA’s members groups generate between £150m – £200m in ticket sales with at least the same being produced in additional spending including: food, drink, travel and accommodation. The vast majority of this supports a wide range of businesses, including theatres, village and community halls, theatrical suppliers, restaurants, musicians, bars and hotels. Many groups also raise significant sums for local and national charities with post show collections and specific fundraising events.
Amateur theatre plays a significant part in the cultural life of the nation; helping with both physical and mental health, not just for the performers and all taking part, but for audiences too. Youngsters involved grow in confidence and self-esteem. Amateur theatre, in many smaller communities, is very often the hub of cultural activity as well as helping to bring communities together. Also worthy of note, is the fact that many professional performers and stars of TV, originally trod the boards in amateur theatre thus shaping them for more lucrative exploits ahead.
At the present time, virtually all amateur theatre productions have been cancelled across the country, and given the lead time for productions, it is unlikely there will be many, if any, productions before the end of 2020. This is a significant loss to the cultural and economic life of the UK. Many groups have been making use of technology to keep in touch, rehearse, or put together videos to entertain their audiences via social media channels. They are eager to maintain their involvement and to resume a normal programme as far as they can.
The show must go on!