Pantomime in Burgess Hill saved as club finds new venue after Martlets Hall closure

Julia Clark playing Robin Hood in the 1995 Babes in the Wood
Julia Clark playing Robin Hood in the 1995 Babes in the Wood

Pantomime fans in Burgess Hill will be pleased to hear that there will still be a panto this Christmas following the closure of Martlets Hall.

Burgess Hill Theatre Club performed at the hall for many years but had to find a new venue this year after the hall closed its doors on June 30, to allow for the redevelopment of the town centre.

Martlets Hall in Burgess Hill closed on June 30. Picture: Derek Martin Photography

Martlets Hall in Burgess Hill closed on June 30. Picture: Derek Martin Photography

The theatre club will now be staging Robin Hood and Babes in the Wood at the Croft Theatre at Burgess Hill Girls school this December.

Rosalind Wood, Burgess Hill Theatre Club chairman, said: “Things will be a bit different this year and we have had to bring the show forward to December to fit in with the school’s Christmas closure period.

“It will be a good pre-Christmas treat for children and of course for adults who like a bit of fun.

“We are delighted that Burgess Hill Girls school has been able to help us continue our long tradition of pantomimes in the club.

Burgess Hill Theatre Club performing Cinderella in January

Burgess Hill Theatre Club performing Cinderella in January

“This will be our 54th pantomime and it will be an updated version of the original excellent June college script.

“It’s basically the Babes in The Wood story with Robin Hood integrated into it and will be a lot of fun for us and the audience.”

The pantomime will be showing at the school in Keymer Road on Saturday, December 15, at 2pm and 6.30pm; Sunday, December 16, at 12 noon and 4.30pm; Thursday, December 20, and Friday, December 21, at 7.30pm and Saturday, December 22, at 2pm and 6.30pm.

Rehearsals for the pantomime begin on September 28, and the cast will be about same in number as usual, a spokesman for the theatre club said.

An outside view of Burgess Hill Girls school. Picture: Google Street View

An outside view of Burgess Hill Girls school. Picture: Google Street View

They added: “One thing the cast will have to adjust to is performing at floor level as the hall has no raised stage but the raked seating gives a good view of the show. There is parking at the school, and raked seating in the hall, with limited accommodation for people using wheelchairs.

“Robin will be played by Ellen Hinton and Maid Marion by Sophie Davies. Details of the box office will be released later. Tickets will be one price at £10.”

Developer NewRiver REIT did not include a replacement for Martlets Hall, which it did not deem viable.

However, councillors have since agreed on a replacement venue to be built on the footprint of the Royal British Legion Building in Cyprus Road and are seeking a £3million loan from the Public Work Loans Board to help pay for it.

RELATED STORIES:

Martlets Hall closure date confirmed

Council decision on Martlets Hall was the right one

Society to ‘go out with a bang’ at Martlets Hall

Bands head to Martlets Hall for Burgess Hill venue’s last folk concert

‘End of an era’ – community says goodbye to ‘iconic’ Martlets Hall

New funding plan for arts venue to replace Martlets Hall

Council’s hope for venue but angry residents blame ‘lack of publicity’

Loan to fund Burgess Hill arts venue a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’