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Panto Time in Ramelton
by John McAteer

It's panto time once again in Ramelton and on Monday week the curtain goes up on ‘Red Riding Hood' as the traditional two-week run begins at the Town Hall.

It is their 48th production since the society was formed in 1956. Along the way a huge tradition has built up and it is the panto productions that continue to develop and foster new talent and this year is no exception.

Their first ever production in 1956 was ‘Robin Hood' which was produced by the legendary Frank Mooney and this year's show, Red Riding Hood was first produced away back in 1964 with Brendan McDaid in charge. The show which continues to be a favourite with both audiences and the cast has also been staged in 1985, 1997 and now it is back to entertain us all over again.

The Ramelton tradition has many links with the current production:
Jean Winston and Tony Boyce were involved in the original production and they continue to be such a huge part of every show.

And as always the Society has a tradition of bringing in new talent. Emma Gunn and Danielle O'Neill who play Red Riding Hood and The Principal Boy have come into the production in main parts.

Emma played in ‘Calamity Jane', the Loreto College Milford musical two years ago while Danielle was in ‘Dancing at the Ballroom of Romance,' with noted director Michael Scott in the Town Hall in 2009.

And as always the great characters from the Ramelton stage are all back again.
James Friel is the Dame, ‘Granny Trott' and Martin Duffy plays ‘The Squire'.
Dermott Mills and Mickey McHugh bring their comedy talents to the roles of  ‘Miff' and ‘Whiff' while Damian Duffy plays ‘Muddles'.
Catriona McCafferty is ‘Myrtle' and Emma Gunn plays ‘Red Riding Hood' with Danielle O'Neill as ‘Peter Goodfellow' (The Principal Boy).

Brian Winston is ‘The Big Bad Wolf' while Maggie Cullen is ‘Fairy Starlight'.

Emma Gunn & Danielle O'Neill who play Red Riding Hood & The Principal Boyh

Members of the Ramelton Panto cast in rehearsal for Red Riding Hood, from left, Dermot Mills, Damien Duffy, Brian Winston as the Big Bad Wolf, James Friel, Catriona McCafferty, Martin Duffy and Mickey McHugh

There is a strong chorus of eighteen girls and six boys and the cast of children is close to 250. The musical director once again is Ronan Doherty and the production team is Jean Winston, Tony Boyce, Gerard McFadden and Patsy Boyce. 

There is an army of helpers backstage and behind the scenes making props, painting and decorating with a costume department busy preparing to get the cast all dressed up for the opening night. The make-up girls are ready and overall this is a huge community effort that involves every family for miles around.

The scenery is being finished by John Harkin whose work and skills are recognised across the northwest.

The booking office with Kathleen Duffy in charge opens on this coming Monday morning and daily between 10.30 and midday and then from 2.00 until 5.00 each evening. The number is 086 126 13 81 except Sundays.

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