Cambridge panto audiences raise £14k for charitable causes

Aladdin is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Sunday, January 9.

Isaac Stanmore (Wishy Washy) and Matt Crosby (Widow Twankey) in Cambridge Arts Theatre pantomime Aladdin - Credit: Richard Hubert Smith

Generous pantomime audiences helped raise more than £14k at the recent Cambridge Arts Theatre production of Aladdin.

Families dug deep over Christmas for selected charitable causes through bucket collections after each panto performance.

Charities that benefitted from the audiences’ generosity are Royal Papworth Hospital, Arthur Rank Hospice, Cambridge Joint Playschemes, Addenbrooke's Hospital Paediatric Music Therapy, and The Avelon Centre.

The theatre’s in-house charity scheme Panto Wheels, which enables students from disadvantaged areas and those with special educational needs to experience a trip to the pantomime, will also receive funds.

Aladdin is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Sunday, January 9.

Matt Crosby (Widow Twankey), Rolan Bell (Abanazar) and Rachel Lumberg (The Empress) in panto Aladdin. Pantomime audiences at the Cambridge Arts Theatre show raised more than £14k for charity this winter through bucket collections. - Credit: Richard Hubert Smith

Kat Collins, head of sales and marketing at Cambridge Arts Theatre, said: “Everyone at the theatre would like to pass on our sincere gratitude to all who donated their hard-earned money when visiting the theatre over Christmas.

"Thanks to their generosity we have supported six fantastic charities, all close to our hearts.

"Bucket collections are a vital part of each year’s pantomime, and we look forward to being able to support further charities in the future.”

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Money raised by Panto Wheels enabled over 2,000 school children to come and see Aladdin, subsidising both travel expenditure and ticket cost.

This year, despite the ongoing COVID pandemic and associated challenges faced by both the Arts Theatre and school groups, a total of 26 schools from Cambridgeshire attended the pantomime.

Aladdin is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Sunday, January 9.

Rolan Bell as Abanazar in Cambridge Arts Theatre pantomime Aladdin. - Credit: Richard Hubert Smith


About the worthwhile causes

Royal Papworth Hospital
As the leading heart and lung hospital in the UK, Royal Papworth Hospital provides specialist treatment for patients from up and down the country.

The Family and Relative Support Project provides emergency accommodation for the family members of patients admitted to critical care.

By funding accommodation for relatives, Royal Papworth Charity removes the worry of finding somewhere to stay at short notice, ensuring the family’s attention can be fully focused on their loved one.


Arthur Rank Hospice
Founded in 1981, Arthur Rank Hospice supports people living in Cambridgeshire with an advanced serious illness or a life-limiting condition and those in need of end-of-life care.

The hospice raises funds so that families are able stay over with their relatives to ensuring they can spend as much time they need to with their loved ones as possible.


Panto Wheels
Cambridge Arts Theatre’s hugely successful in-house charitable scheme, Panto Wheels, helps children from disadvantaged backgrounds or those with special educational needs to attend the annual Christmas pantomime.

Through subsidising ticket and travel costs, thousands of extra children a year attend the panto.


Cambridge Joint Playschemes
CJP was set up nearly 25 years ago in Cambridge to provide enjoyable, stimulating and fun activities for children with moderate to severe learning disabilities.

They organise day trips - from museum visits to power kiting - and provide vital opportunities for social interaction, promoting self-esteem, confidence and developing communication skills for children who may not have social networks outside of school.


Addenbrooke’s Hospital Paediatric Music Therapy
Addenbrooke’s Hospital runs music therapy for around 450 children a year who are admitted to the hospital for treatment and operations, many of whom will spend the festive season away from their families.

This vital therapy helps children with serious illness, complex needs, and communication difficulties through the therapeutic use of music.


The Avelon Centre
The Avelon Centre in Rainham provides support for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Not only do these children have learning difficulties but many come from under-privileged backgrounds and don’t have what most of us take for granted.