Theatre streams panto live to hospital so ill children don’t miss out

In a UK first, the Newcastle Theatre Royal panto Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be screened to hospital bedsides in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland this December.
In a UK first, the Newcastle Theatre Royal panto Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be screened to hospital bedsides in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland this December.

POORLY children spending Christmas in hospital won’t miss seeing a festive panto thanks to a North East theatre.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be broadcast to South Tyneside District Hospital and 179 others across the UK on Tuesday, December 23.

The cast of Newcastle’s Theatre Royal’s festive show have recorded a special performance which will be seen by 170,000 patients, in a UK first.

The screenings are the brainchild of local entrepreneur and Theatre Royal Trustee Howard Tait.

He said: “I have always been passionate about bringing children from hospital to see the panto and seeing their faces light up just made me want to extend this magic to those children who are too sick to leave their beds.

“With the help of the wonderful panto team at Newcastle Theatre Royal, this has been made possible and I am so proud to see the screenings go totally UK-wide for the first time ever this year. For many this will be a dream come true.”

Cast members celebrated by visiting The Great North Children’s Hospital, in Newcastle, on December 17, to meet some of their youngest and biggest fans.

Dressed in full costume, the cast spent time with poorly children and their families, bringing gifts and signing autographs ahead of the screening on the bedside TVs.

Emily Shaw, who plays Snow White, said: “It is a really humbling experience going to visit the children in the hospital because you can see how much it means to them.

“It’s lovely to think we can bring a bit of the Christmas joy we all experience at the theatre to them in their hospital beds both through this visit and by screening the panto to them.”

The hospital screening project is a unique collaboration between the NHS, Newcastle Theatre Royal and Hospedia – the national hospital broadcast network.

The screening of the panto is free to everyone with a bedside TV and will be shown at 2pm on channel 34, with repeat screenings at 4pm and 6pm.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is at Newcastle Theatre Royal until Sunday, January 18.

Tickets cost from £12. To book, go to www.theatreroyal.co.uk or call 08448 112 121.

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