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The Victoria Park Players put on Pantomime for Hackney Winter Night Shelter

PUBLISHED: 16:48 13 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:48 13 January 2020

The Victoria Park Players in their original production of Little Red Robin Hood. Picture: Tim Castle

The Victoria Park Players in their original production of Little Red Robin Hood. Picture: Tim Castle

Tim Castle

Every year an amateur theatre company called The Victoria Park Players puts on a pantomime to raise money for charity.

The Victoria Park Players raised money for Hackney Winter Night shelter and Lauriston School. Picture: Tim CastleThe Victoria Park Players raised money for Hackney Winter Night shelter and Lauriston School. Picture: Tim Castle

They've organised the annual performances for almost 15 years and Peter Willis has been with the group for about a decade.

He told the Gazette why he joined: "Well, someone dropped out and I was asked to help and I enjoyed it so much I've been with them ever since - they can't get rid of me now. I'm the one who can't act I just learn lines."

Local kids get involved in the production too.

"We always have a group of children take part in some way as woodland animals or something like that and [hope] that will encourage them to be more involved in the community."

The show was a mash-up of Little Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood. Picture: Tim CastleThe show was a mash-up of Little Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood. Picture: Tim Castle

Over 260 people came to watch them over two performances on the weekend. "The more tickets we sell the more money we raise and that's what it comes down to," said the Victoria Park Player.

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"We've been supporting Hackney Winter Night Shelter for quite a few years now [and] we all feel it's a very worthwhile cause - so were delighted to be able to support it.

Living around Victoria Park we think it's important to give back - you have to do what you can and homelessness is a huge problem," Peter said.

Each year Phillip Barass re-writes a classic tale - or two - and Jenni Konko directs. Picture: Tim CastleEach year Phillip Barass re-writes a classic tale - or two - and Jenni Konko directs. Picture: Tim Castle

He's lived in Hackney for 25 years and worries about the rising cost of living in the borough.

"It's become crazy, people can't afford to live here! How do we retain school teachers and nurses and all of those essential services when house prices are beyond most peoples reach?"

Hackney Winter Night Shelter works with communities to support homeless people and offer warm places to stay at night during the winter. The Victoria Park Players have also raised money for Lauriston Primary School.

This year the play was called Little Red Robin Hood and it was a mash-up of Little Red Riding Hood and Robin Hood.

They held the play at Lauriston school as many of the actors have kids that went there. Picture: Tim CastleThey held the play at Lauriston school as many of the actors have kids that went there. Picture: Tim Castle

Writer Phillip Barrass re-writes classic tales each year while Jenni Konko directs the shows.

Jenni Konko will also be hosting A Song For Shelter in aid of Hackney Winter Night Shelter on January 25 at St John Of Jerusalem Church. For more details click here

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