Children from Newcastle’s Peter Pan Centre meet the Regent Theatre’s Panto stars

A chance meeting with panto star Jonathan Wilkes led to children and staff from the Peter Pan Centre being invited up on stage to meet the cast and crew of the Regent Theatre pantomime.

Staff from the Peter Pan Centre for Children with Special Needs met Jonathan, aka Smee, when the centre won a Your Heroes award earlier this year.

As a result, Jonathan agreed to ask his fellow panto cast members to make a special appearance at the centre in Wolstanton.

The visit had to be cancelled due to illness but arrangements were made for a group of children and staff to attend a matinee of the Pantomine Adventures of Peter Pan at the Regent Theatre, Hanley.

“We had a fantastic time,” said centre Chief Executive Catherine Cook. “The children who attend the centre are aged 0-5 and all have special educational needs.

“None had ever been to a pantomime, or even the theatre, before and some of our parent carers were nervous as to how their children would react, or if they would be overwhelmed by the whole experience.

“But they needn’t have been. The theatre staff could not have been more helpful. They thought of everything to put children at ease, including making sure we had easy access to our seats should any of the children need to leave the show for a short time.

“Everyone had a brilliant time and the show really grabbed children’s attention. They were dancing, singing and generally having a fabulous time.

“Afterwards we were invited on stage to meet all the cast, including Jonathan Wilkes.

“We want to say a huge thank you to the cast and all team members at the Regent. This experience has given our parent carers to confidence to try something new with their children. While many people may take a trip to the panto for granted it was a big step forward for many of our families and we are hopeful they will now have the confidence to go again next year.


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