Lockdown panto is a big hit: Oh, yes it is!

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A lockdown Christmas panto at a care home was a big hit. Oh, yes it was!

Staff at Pendine Park’s Highfield care home on Summerhill Road in Wrexham have been treading the boards this festive season by putting on two shows to the delight of residents.

A panto featuring a group of Highfield staff provided its own take on the events of a year dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with Cinderella in the Silver Mask seeing the traditional story’s glass slipper replaced by a silver face mask.

To put the icing on the Christmas cake, residents enjoyed an extra treat the following day when they were able to watch the Highfield Palladium show.

Staff and residents demonstrated talents including singing, poetry, belly dancing and ventriloquism, helping bring some festive cheer to all at the home.

Chris Lewis, activities and enrichment co-ordinator at Highfield, helped organise the two shows and was delighted about how successful they were.

She said: “We have wanted residents to have as nice a Christmas as possible in the circumstances.

“We thought the shows were a good idea and both went very well. At both events the residents were laughing and enjoying themselves.

“It was also good fun for the staff, who have had a difficult year. For everybody it was about having a good time.”

Social distancing measures meant each show was performed twice, to allow all residents to be able to join in the fun.

Chris, who played one of the Ugly Sisters in the panto and acted as compere for the talent show, said: “We have worked hard to put on the shows and it was rewarding to see how much fun they provided.

“I wish to thank all the staff who played their part.

“The panto was a big success and there was also a great deal of laughter during the Palladium show. It was particularly nice that a couple of residents took part.

“The others were waving their arms and singing, so everybody had a good time.”

One of the Highfield residents to provide entertainment was Noel Hughes, who kept the audience amused with his impressive repertoire of sounds such as bird noises.

Another to strut her stuff was Emma Locker, who sang to the delight of her friends at the home.

Many of the staff provided entertainment, including senior care practitioner Laura Shone who dressed up as a blow-up Santa and read a witty poem about the events of the past year.

The show was followed by residents enjoying a festive buffet, as everyone entered into the Christmas spirit.

“We are working hard to ensure as many activities as possible can go ahead at Highfield this Christmas,” added Chris.

“For example, the residents have been making Christmas cards.

“On Christmas Day I will be dressing up as Santa and visiting the residents.”

Sarah Edwards, artist in residence at Pendine Park, said each of the organisation’s care homes has been providing activities for the residents this Christmas.

“It is pleasing to see the events that have been taking place at Highfield,” she said.

“Throughout Pendine Park we have been determined to make Christmas as special as possible for the residents despite the lockdown restrictions, holding many of our regular festive events and activities with social distancing measures in place.

“Christmas has most certainly not been cancelled at Pendine Park this year.”