Festive fun at Symonds House

Sally Brett

At Symonds House, the spirit of Christmas came alive in a unique way this year with the pantomime production of Beauty and the Beast. We spoke to Activities Coordinator Sally Brett to find out more.

Advertisement for the Beauty and the Beast pantomine.

Sally describes the planning process as relatively straightforward. The idea to put on a Christmas pantomime originated from a mix of staff and residents' nostalgia, reminiscing about past events, and the desire to create new memories. 

The inspiration for Beauty and the Beast was born out of the genuine requests from both staff and residents, setting the stage for a magical journey.

When asked about the difficulties faced, she humorously likens it to "herding cats at times." But there was massive enthusiasm from staff and residents, with Sally even turning to Amazon to find a suitable script.

Getting ready

The months before the pantomime were filled with reading rehearsals and a month of intensive practice in November. Juggling busy schedules proved challenging, but the cast persevered, leading to two memorable showings—one in the evening and another in the afternoon.

The cast embraced the chosen script, making personal adjustments along the way. The creative freedom allowed for a unique touch that resonated with both residents and staff.

The smiles, laughs, and reactions from residents, staff, and families were the ultimate testament to the magic of the season.

Undoubtedly, putting on a pantomime presented its challenges, but the cast overcame them as a team. The primary hurdle was coordinating schedules to get everyone together. However, the shared commitment to fun and enjoyment prevailed thanks to the excellent teamwork of Symonds House staff. 

The residents' animated reactions and active participation made the pantomime a resounding success. From a mischievous mole with a water pistol to a delighted princess in a beautiful dress, the joy and fulfilment were evident on everyone's faces.

Magic of the season

Sally highlights the broader Christmas-themed events accompanying the pantomime, including a festive fete, parties, theatre visits, bingo, and various entertaining activities. The success of the pantomime has sparked plans for it to become an annual tradition at Symonds House, with the team already selecting the next script.

In Sally's words, the journey of planning and organising the Christmas pantomime was occasionally challenging but undeniably rewarding. The smiles, laughs, and reactions from residents, staff, and families were the ultimate testament to the magic of the season. 

The collaborative effort of dedicated individuals, volunteering time and energy made the pantomime a truly unforgettable experience—one that promises to be a heartwarming tradition for years to come.