Mother Goose swansong for Northam’s panto dame

Joseph Bulmer

THE Bright Stars Theatre Group expects an especially poignant pantomime performance this month as members bid farewell to their star performer and clerical dame!

For the past six years the Reverend Paul Martin has played the dame with gusto at the panto shows in Northam Methodist Hall, but this year’s production of Mother Goose on the weekends of January 21 and 22 plus January 28 and 29 will be his swansong.

Rev Martin, Minister of the Methodist churches at Bideford, Alwington and Gammerton, is moving with his wife Andrea and children James and Kaye to a new parish in Nottingham this August.

Before all that, Mother Goose awaits and there are six shows, nightly at 7pm on the Friday and Saturday of both weekends, together with 2.30pm Saturday matinees. Money raised this year will go to Devon Air Ambulance.

Maggie Smale, who set up the Bright Stars group, urged anyone who hadn’t had the opportunity to see a Methodist minister in panto before to grab their chance before it was too late!

“It has been wonderful, having Paul with us and he has brought such fun and laughter to our groups,” she said.

“He is a larger than life character and a lot of people from the circuit come along because Paul is in it. He will be greatly missed, not only for our pantomimes and his church work, but as a lovely man who has time for everyone.”

Reverend Martin followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, Reverend Preben Andersen, who also played the dame for Bright Stars.

“I think they had worked out that an awful lot of ministers are frustrated actors!” he said.

“To me it is all about being part of the community, relating with people both within the church and outside of it. I’m looking forward to the panto and hope it will be a good show for everyone.

“I am going to miss a lot of people here, but my family roots are in Cornwall so we will still stop off in the area on occasion.”

To see Mother Goose and the dame’s farewell at Northam Methodist Hall, book your tickets from (01237) 408226.

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