Sleeping Beauty will fall into a deep, deep sleep in Wharfedale next month as Menston Thespians present their annual pantomime.

This year the group will perform Sleeping Beauty, written by Peter Long and Keith Rawnsley, and produced, with kind permission of NODA, by Marjorie Inman, with musical director Arnold Boddy and choreographer by Laura Emsley and Louise Webster.

Louise’s Dance School, Footloose, in Otley provide the delightful Sunbeams and accomplished older dancers to give this production the razzmatazz which has come to be expected from Marjorie’s productions.

The Thespians have the usual line-up of principals, joined this year by Martin Holmes and Debbie Taylor, from Yeadon, and Nick Howell is making a return to the stage to join his mum, Sharon, and daughter, Niamh. He takes the part of Colonel Bogey – much to his daughter’s amusement.

Niamh appeared for the first time at just five years old, in last year’s production, playing the little fairy helper. She won a special commendation from the chairman of Wharfedale Festival of Theatre, so she wanted to be in again this year and persuaded her dad to join the production.

He is carrying on his late father’s legacy and appearing in panto, to make three generations of the Howell family on stage together.

It is still very much a family affair, with sisters Emma and Victoria playing mother and daughter, Sarah Hobson plays the Wicked Fairy this year and her mum, Barbara, is busy with the sewing machine running up all the costumes.

There are also brothers and brother and sister in the group of children playing small parts.

All this will be happening from February 20 to 22, each evening at 7.15pm, with a 2pm matinee on the Saturday, at Kirklands Community Centre, Main Street, Menston.

Tickets are £8 for adults and £6 for under 16s, available from Menston Post Office.

  • Menston Thespians are also looking for people to help with their website, and with building and backstage jobs. Contact Karl Jones on 07805 541789 or e-mail him at for more information.