AN AWARD-WINNING group of actors in Winsford will be brightening up the miserable February evenings with an original panto.

Over Players’ madcap take on the classic Beauty on the Beast tale will be running for four performances between Wednesday, January 31, and Saturday, February 3, at Over United Reformed Church on Swanlow Lane.

The 20-strong cast of friends will be delighting audiences with their comic antics on stage, penned by their own in-house writer, Lynn Hughes, which is suitable for all ages.

Revenue from ticket sales will go to Winsford’s Dementia Café, based at St Andrew’s Methodist Church, to help it carry on its important work supporting some of the town’s older residents.  

Long-standing Over Player, Carol Moran, who’s playing Tilly the tavern owner this year, said: “It’s all just a bit of fun really, but we love it. It's hilarious

“January and February is a pretty miserable time of year, all dark and cold, and we’re just aiming to brighten things up for people a little bit.

“We’re a real community company. We have whole families in our performances, and even my husband works backstage.

“There’re lots of couples. We’re a very close-knit group with strong ties to the local community.

“The preparations are going really well. We’re all looking forward to the dress rehearsal on Sunday, then we’ll be all set for the first show on Wednesday.

“It’s our own take on Beauty and the Beast, but keeping everyone’s favourite characters – Gaston, Belle, the Beast – with a few additions like Tilly the tavern owner, Belle’s sisters, and Albert, Gaston’s sidekick.

“We’ve got an enchantress too. There’s lots of twists and turns.

“We always choose a charity to support which is close to Winsford and supports residents in a variety of ways.

“This year, we’ve chosen the Dementia Café. They do fantastic work."

Carol said this year's panto is quite dear to the Players as it’s dedicated to a much-loved member of the group, Winsford vet Fiona Hughes, who died from breast cancer in August 2023.  

Carol added: “This year’s panto is a bit special as we’re dedicated it to our dear friend and long-standing Over Player, Fiona Hughes, who we lost last year.

“As well as being a huge am-dram enthusiast, Fiona was also a well-known and respected vet in Winsford for many years. She is sorely missed.”

If you want to get tickets for the show, which starts at 7.30pm Wednesday to Friday, with a 2.30pm matinee performance on Saturday, call Carol on 07984586981, or send her an email.

Tickets will also be available at the door on a first come, first served basis.