Mother Goose steps out

IT had been a case of "oh no you're not" after snow stopped hundreds of schoolchildren going to the panto.

Now, however, they will instead have it brought to them.

Dangerous road conditions created by the worst winter in more than 40 years saw schools across the Lothians forced to cancel plans to take classes on a trip to see the annual festive pantomime at the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh.

The disappointed youngsters will now be able to enjoy at least some of the magic, after the cast agreed to take their show on the road.

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Most of the schools had planned to visit the panto early in December, but were completely caught out by the blizzards which shut down roads, closed schools and made the trips impossible.

The management at Brunton Theatre did not want to disappoint the children who were looking forward to seeing this year's panto, a version of Mother Goose.

As all the matinee performances at the theatre had sold out, however, there wasn't capacity to re-seat the schools who had cancelled.

Instead, the cast and crew of Mother Goose will take to the road in January for an exclusive tour, giving the children the panto experience they have been looking forward to.

Roger Knox, chair of Brunton Theatre Trust, said: "This unusual weather has caused problems for everyone this year, but it is especially hard when it affects children. As the schools couldn't get to the theatre, we are delighted to be able to take the panto to them."

The tour will be heading to primary schools including Wardie, Oxgangs, Abbeyhill and Loanhead.

The stars will also be taking the show to Riverside Primary in Livingston, Dunbar Primary, St Martin's Primary in Tranent, and Stenton Primary, just outside Dunbar.

Those taking part in the tour include Arron Usher, who this year celebrated his tenth Brunton panto with fellow actors Julie Heatherill and Edward Cory by playing Muddles in the adaptation of Mother Goose.

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Lesley Smith, principal arts officer and general manager of the Brunton Theatre, said: "We knew that the children would be so disappointed when the schools had to cancel due to the bad weather that we had to do something. This is the first time that we have toured a panto but, together with the cast, we are determined to give the children a great panto experience."

Heather Hackett, depute headteacher at Dunbar Primary School, said it was great news that the pupils would be able to enjoy the panto experience this year after all.

"This is fantastic," she said. "We are delighted that Brunton Theatre is giving the children the opportunity to enjoy Mother Goose."After all, we thought they would have to miss out this year."