Menston is about to be treated to one of the best-loved traditional pantomimes – oh yes it is!

Preparations for Menston Thespians’ production of Jack and the Beanstalk, which will run at Kirklands Community Centre from Thursday, February 21 to Saturday, February 23, are in full swing.

The family-focused show, written by Ben Crocker, is being produced by local director Marjorie Inman with musical direction coming from Arnold Boddy and Louise Webster and Laura Emsley in charge of choreography.

It will be a family affair for the cast, too, with Daisy the Cow being played by newlyweds Emma and James Williment; Emma’s sister, Victoria, starring as the Princess; and most of the backstage crew consisting of the Jones family, from Otley.

The Goblins will be played by brothers Joseph and Benjamin Woollin and brother and sister Maria and Owen Sage – whose father, Andrew, has also stepped into the role of the Giant at a very late stage after another actor had to drop out due to a serious family illness.

Menston Thespians secretary Sharon Howell said: “We are indebted to Andrew for stepping in at this late stage, especially as he has had very little stage experience other than coming to rehearsals with his children.”

“But he has taken to it like a duck to water, and thrown himself into rehearsals with great enthusiasm – much to the amusement of his children.”

Sharon herself – whose ex-husband, the late John Howell, was a big supporter of pantomimes in the village – will play Edina the Eco Fairy in the show, with help from their granddaughter, Niamh, as her little fairy helper.

The panto will start at 7.15pm each night of its three-day run, and there will also be a 2pm Saturday matinee.

Tickets, which are selling well, cost £8 for adults and £5 for children under 16. They can be bought from Menston Post Office or by sending an e-mail to or calling (01943) 874855.

A memorial plate in honour of father-of-three Mr Howell, who died of a heart attack in 2010, aged 55, is now presented at the Wharfedale Festival Awards for the Best Pantomime Dames.