The pantomime at Richmond’s Georgian Theatre Royal has gained a reputation as one of the region’s top festive events but equally popular is the celebrated community knitting campaign that has become an essential and much-loved part of the action.
This year the historic theatre is appealing for knitted or crocheted vegetables which will be used during the 57 performances of Rapunzel, taking place from Wednesday 6 December to Sunday 7 January 2024.
Mimicking the behaviour of audiences in Georgian times, the knitted vegetables will be thrown at the actors at a given point in the show, which will see the dame (aka Mrs Spud), as the proprietor of a vegetarian café.
The knitting tradition started back in 2011, when over 1,000 bananas were knitted for The Adventures of Sinbad. Since then, there have been snowballs, apples, doughnuts, hearts and fish to name but a few. They are largely knitted by members of the local community but, over the years, it has become a much wider phenomena with enthusiastic contributions received from across the UK and abroad.
“It’s as though there are two pantomime launches,” said Theatre Manager and pantomime Director, Clare Allen. “The first is the naming of the panto, which is announced on the last night of the outgoing production and the second is the reveal of the knitted item. In fact, some might say the second is the most important!
“It is fantastic the way that everyone embraces this project from experienced knitters to those who just want to try their hand at something fun and new. We appreciate every single one of them. The love and thought that goes into these creations is phenomenal,” she added.
Once the pantomime is over, the Theatre makes sure that new homes are found for the knitted objects. Last year’s knitted fish were donated to local nurseries and playgroups to make displays and for use in counting and sorting activities.
All types of vegetables are welcome, and knitters are encouraged to use their creativity and imagination. Examples of patterns can be picked up from the Box Office or downloaded from the panto page on the Theatre’s website: www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk/Whats-on/Pantomime Alternatively, people can use their own designs and all colours and sizes are welcomed.
Vegetables should be handed in at the Box Office or posted to arrive at the Theatre (The Georgian Theatre Royal, Victoria Road, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL10 4DW) by Saturday 25 November.
PHOTO CAPTION: Volunteer knitters gain inspiration from Neeps and Tatties in the Market Place.