Panto club calls up the spirit of Christmas future

Andrew Baxter starred as Mrs Hawkins in Spotlight Musical Theatre Group's 2021 panto: Treasure Island. Photograph: Debbie Day/Spotlight Musical Theatre Group.

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Even though the sun is shining and the days are still long, Benderloch & North Connel Drama Club members are thinking about the joys of winter and this year’s Oban Panto.

The show in the Corran Halls every December has been a feature of Christmas festivities for generations.

Oban Panto Group used to stage the production every year, but since its demise in the mid-1990s, Spotlight Musical Theatre Group and Benderloch & North Connel Drama Club have taken it in turn to put on the Oban panto.

This year, Benderloch will be performing ‘Bah Humbug!’ a panto adaptation of the famous Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol. Rehearsals will take place throughout the autumn with the show taking place in the Corran Halls on Thursday December 8, Friday December 9 and Saturday December 10.

Club president Mike Rowell said: ‘The community panto is a great opportunity for everyone in Oban and the surrounding area to come together to enjoy live theatre, as audience members or as part of the cast or backstage team.

‘The club is currently looking for new members to make the panto happen this year. We welcome everyone. You don’t have to live in Benderloch or North Connel.

‘Most members come from Oban or further afield. Whether you are experienced on stage or not, taking part in a panto is a great way to get out and meet people and have fun as part of an experience that brings joy to so many people in winter and is an invaluable part of Christmas.’

The club is holding an informal open evening at 7:30pm on August 18 in the Victory Hall, Benderloch, for anyone over the age of 16 who is interested in taking part in the panto. There will be a read-through and casting of the main adult parts. It is hoped to have a session for junior cast members at a later date.

Benderloch and North Connel Drama Club was founded in 1955 and although it has its club hut at Benderloch has members from all around the Oban and North Lorn area.

The club produces pantos, one act plays and occasionally full-length plays. It regularly wins top prizes Campbeltown Drama Festival, the Lorn Drama Festival and The North Lorn Drama Festival with both senior and junior plays.