The Victoria Park Players put on Pantomime for Hackney Winter Night Shelter
- Credit: Tim Castle
Every year an amateur theatre company called The Victoria Park Players puts on a pantomime to raise money for charity.
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."
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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.
"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.
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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.
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.
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