THE Blue Light Theatre Company are well into rehearsals for next month's Wonderland pantomime in aid of York Against Cancer and Motor Neurone Disease Association (York).

"We're promoting our fantastic new panto as a 'zero- waste Christmas gift to beat those January blues' and an affordable family experience," says publicity officer Mark Friend.

"I know quite a few families would love to see a big professional panto, but just can't afford it, so our ticket prices are £10 for adults, £8, concessions, and £5, children."

Presented by Yorkshire Ambulance Service and York Hospital staff, alongside regular performers from the York theatre scene, Wonderland will be performed at Acomb Working Men's Club, in Front Street, York, on January 18, 23, 24 and 25 at 7.30pm plus a January 19 matinee at 1pm. "Packed with great songs, dances, twists and turns, laughter and magical moments, this is a show not to be missed," says Mark.

Written by Perri-Ann Barley, with additional material by Steven Clark, and directed by Craig Barley, Wonderland is a brand new show that sees the return of favourite characters such as Alice, The White Rabbit, The Mad Hatter, The Cheshire Cat, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and the King and Queen of Hearts, while also introducing some "fabulous and colourful" new ones.

York Press:

On song: Blue Light Theatre Company cast members  performing carols and Wonderland songs at Tesco Clifton Moor

"In our show, Wonderland is bursting with excitement as they prepare for Wonderland’s Got Talent!, hosted by Queen Delores Van Clubland, but the King and Queen of Hearts don't want such a competition to go ahead and are determined to put a stop to it," says Mark. "A battle then ensues as the two Queens go head to head, but who will lose theirs first?"

Queen Delores Van Clubland will be played by Steve Clark; Winston, the King of Hearts, Glen Gears; Queen of Hearts, Perri-Ann Barley; Alice, Devon Wells; Aunt Lucy, Brenda Riley; The White Rabbit, Mark Friend; The Mad Hatter, Peter Melia; 
Tweedle Dee,Simon Moore, and Tweedle Dum, Jorvik Kalicinski.

The role of The Cheshire Cat goes to Kristan Barley; The Great Prophet, The Royal Messenger and Doug, Craig Barley; Maud, Pat Mortimer; Maid to the Queen of Hearts, Linden Horwood;  Servant to The Great Prophet, Zoe Paylor; Flower Girls, Zoe Paylor, Nicky Moore, Linden Horwood and Katelyn Botterill, and Unicorns,Kalayna Barley, Kathryn Donley and Charlotte and Abigail Botterill.

In between rehearsals, cast members have found time to spread some Christmas cheer in the community. "In November they were at McColls, on Gale Lane, to cut the ribbon at the store's re-launch," says Mark. "They also performed two sets at an exclusive panto preview at the Acomb Christmas Lights switch-on event, and this month they were invited to sing carols and songs from the show at Tesco Clifton Moor.

"Petra Hilton, the store's Community Champion, said on Tesco's Facebook page: 'Today we had The Blue Light Theatre Company in store singing and The White Rabbit even helped serve Alice. Absolutely fantastic afternoon, these guys smashed it. The customers loved it".

In December too, Blue Light entertained residents and staff at Ivy Lodge nursing home, in Briergate, Haxby. "Everyone had a lovely afternoon singing and chatting," says Mark.

Wonderland tickets are on sale on 07933 329654 or at; please note, you do not have to be an Acomb WMC member to attend. All profits will be split equally between York Against Cancer and Motor Neurone Disease Association (York), who each received £1,200 from the last panto.