When The Georgian Theatre Royal put out an appeal for knitted doughnuts that could be used in its pantomime The Wizard of Oz, people from across the globe picked up their needles to help but three ladies went that extra mile and between them knitted 541 doughnuts.
Suzie Mitchell from Harrogate produced a staggering 225 doughnuts and in doing so earned herself the coveted title of Champion Doughnut Knitter 2017. Lynne Kemp a Theatre volunteer from Richmond came second with 166 doughnuts, followed closely by Sylvia Edmondson (also from Richmond) with 150. In total, around 2,000 doughnuts were received by the Theatre in all shapes, sizes and colours.
Clare Allen, Chief Executive of the Theatre and director of this year’s pantomime, is delighted with the response to the appeal. “It is brilliant to have had so many doughnuts pouring into the Theatre and we are extremely grateful for the considerable amount of time and effort that has gone into making these beautiful objects. They are not only an essential part of the show but it also makes our pantomime a real community event by involving so many people of all ages.
“We have been surprised at just how far some of our doughnuts have travelled. The furthest batch came all the way from Finland and each one was beautifully crafted in the colours of the rainbow. We have also had knitting groups from across the region donating to our cause and we know that some people have held knitting parties,” she added.
The doughnut-knitting initiative follows a much-loved tradition of community-based craft campaigns connected to the pantomime. In previous years, knitted bananas, snowballs, leaves and apples have been called for. This year children have also made hot air balloons and model Emerald cities.
The trophy for the person knitting the most doughnuts was kindly donated by CJ Lightfoot Jewellers in Richmond and has been engraved to commemorate the event.
Suzie Mitchell, who won the award, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed making doughnuts for the pantomime and it has been great fun to be involved in the project. I have actually just seen the show with three generations of my family and it was extremely amusing to see how the doughnuts were used during the performance.”
To reveal what does actually happen to the doughnuts would of course spoil the element of surprise but some of the doughnuts can be seen in the Box Office and public areas of the Theatre as they have been woven into huge decorative tinsel garlands.
The Wizard of Oz runs at The Georgian Theatre Royal until Sunday 7 January 2018. Tickets from £8 to £22 are available from the Box Office on 01748 825252 or via the online booking service at www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk
PHOTO: Knitters celebrate victory in The Georgian Theatre Royal doughnut knitting competition. Left to right: Lynne Kemp, Suzie Mitchell and Sylvia Edmondson.