THE curtains go up on Pickering Musical Society’s annual pantomime today.

This year the society is performing Hansel and Gretel, written by life member Ron Hall.

The production follows the traditional fairytale and is set in the village of Munchin Koffdropp, deep in the heart of Germany.

As their adventure unfolds we meet Hansel and Gretel, played by two duos, Rosie Hodgson and Charlotte Watson and Erin Kalischer and Eve Holbrook, and their friends Heidi and Martin (Alice and Niamh Rose).

Marcus Burnside will again this year play the pantomime dame Miss Daisy Demeanour and is joined by his sidekick Stephen Temple as Willie the village idiot.

As we know from the traditional fairytale, the children are kidnapped by their father Colin Wragg and stepmother Linda Tester, and are abandoned in the forest where they find a wonderful gingerbread house.

All is not what it seams as this lovely house is owned by the wicked witch of the wood played by the very scary Maureen Symonds.

Will good in the form of the Forest Fairy and all her friends triumph over evil in the end? This year’s production is special as it marks the start of the 100th anniversary year of Pickering Musical Society.

Founded in 1919 by a group of talented local people, the society has been producing musicals and pantomimes ever since.

Luke Arnold, director and theatre manager, said: “We are all really proud that Pickering Musical Society has reached this wonderful milestone.

“It is a privilege to be directing the pantomime in this special year and

so lovely to see so many people involved on stage and behind the scenes.”

The production features a cast of more than 40 local performers, aged from eight to 80, and includes members of the Pickering Musical Society Youth Theatre, together with dancers from the Sarah Louise Ashworth School of Dance.

Hansel and Gretel opens on Friday, January 11 and runs until Sunday, January 20 at the Kirk Theatre in Pickering. Performances are every evening with matinee performances at the weekends.

Tickets start from £12 and are available online at or by phoning the box office on 01751 472127.