WITH the Christmas holidays rapidly looming Menston Thespians have come up with a unique way of helping frazzled parents to entertain their children during the festive period.

To provide a bit of family fun, the group has created a winter panto trail to help to celebrate their latest traditional pantomime Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood, a delightful, swash-buckling tale courtesy of the magical pen of Kei Bailey. This enchanting show has it's Grand Opening Night on Thursday, February 15th.

During the Christmas holidays everyone of all ages are invited to collect a trail from Menston Library (check opening times Bradford.gov.uk/libraries or ring 01943 876539) and then during the trail competition period take a walk around the main street area of Menston and spot the posters of panto characters in various retail shop windows and other local business establishments.

A letter on each individual poster will also make a anagram of one of many Robin Hood characters for participants to unravel. Be warned that the panto tale also includes Hansel and Gretel as the Babes in the Wood, such is the magic of panto script writing. You can be sure that the Wicked Witch of the Gingerbread House fame is not far behind.

The trail activity will take place from Thursday, December 21st until Monday, January 8th. Forms are available from Menston Library and cost just £1 (cash only please) with profits going to finance future drama productions.

Ilkley Gazette: Mike Sansbury, manager of the Grove Bookshop, Ilkley presenting the trail book prizes to Keith Galvin Society publicity memberMike Sansbury, manager of the Grove Bookshop, Ilkley presenting the trail book prizes to Keith Galvin Society publicity member (Image: submitted)

The winning prize will include two tickets to the opening night and two cast signed books, kindly donated by the Grove Bookshop Ilkley. The books feature Hansel and Gretel, written by Michael Morpurgo and Robin Hood from Usborne books.

Helping to launch the trail, Cheryl Thornton, Chair of Menston Community Association said: "This is a fun event for all the family to enjoy and as an avid fan of panto, I look forward to a very entertaining show."

The Grand Opening Night will hopefully see children of all ages invited to go along in their favourite fancy dress costume to join in the fun of this premiere occasion. You can wear any costume from your favourite fairy tale to Disney and beyond! Prizes will be given to the best two costumes and a small treat to all children who come along in imaginative costume.

Panto dates are Thursday, February 15th to Saturday, February 17th at 7.15pm each evening, at Kirkland Community Centre, Menston, with a matinee on Saturday at 2pm.

Tickets at £12 for adults and children under 16 at £9 now available at menstonthespians.co.uk/tickets or from the box office on 07764753731.

Last year was a sell-out so you are advised to book early!