A competition to grow the tallest beanstalk has resulted in a ‘forest’ of greenery springing up at Richmond’s Georgian Theatre Royal.
Earlier in the Autumn, the Theatre gave out hundreds of free bean-growing packs to local school children and theatre goers to celebrate this year’s pantomime – Jack and the Beanstalk - and offered prizes for the three tallest plants.
Over 90 entries were received by the cut-off date and first prize went to Alex Whittall of Catterick for his mammoth bean plant that measured 67cm high; closely followed by Maisie Forbes who lives in Brompton on Swale (65cm) and Harley Hope from Catterick (62cm).
“People have really entered into the spirit of the competition,” said Clare Allen, the Theatre’s Chief Executive. “Some had decorated them with glitter and tiny baubles and others had even given their beanstalks names. They had obviously become very fond of them over the growing period, having successfully nurtured them from bean to plant!”
The bean seeds themselves were kindly donated by Ravensworth Nurseries and all that was required to grow them into budding beanstalks was an empty jam jar, some kitchen towel or cotton wool, water and a bit of patience.
“Alex really enjoyed taking part in the competition,” said his Mum, Rachel Whittall. “He watched it grow daily and when it grew out of the jar we supported it on a stick that he was able to mark with regular measurements. He has never won a competition like this before so he was absolutely thrilled.”
The first competition prize was a chocolate and confectionery hamper provided by Frenchgate Fudge Makers and Chocolatiers and the second prize of a large jar of sweets was donated by Weigh In of Richmond. Third prize was a large tub of chocolates.
In addition to the real live beanstalks that have been grown for the competition, the Theatre is also proud to display a huge model beanstalk decorated with 3,000 knitted leaves that extends from the ground floor foyer to the building’s ceiling on the second floor, as well as the pantomime beanstalk on the stage itself.
In the show, magic beans are exchanged for a large pantomime camel, which then grow into a fantastic beanstalk leading to a palace of fun in cloudland inhabited by a rather surprising giant.
Jack and the Beanstalk runs at The Georgian Theatre Royal until Sunday 3 January 2016. Tickets from £7 to £21 are available from the Box Office on 01748 825252 or via the online booking service at www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk
PHOTO: Left to right: Harley Hope, Alex Whittall and Maisie Forbes are pictured with their prize-winning beanstalks.