Panto veteran steps out of limelight

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PANTO king Roy Staniforth has taken his final curtain call.

He is stepping back after 67 years as the creator, dame and inspiration for Wales Panto Players, based at Wales-Kiveton Methodist Church, whose shows are an annual institution at the Montgomery Theatre in Sheffield.

“I always said I would know when it was time to quit and I did,” said Roy, who lives in Killamarsh.

“The last pantomime we did was Goldilocks And The Three Bears and I didn’t play the dame for the first time in 60-odd years – apart from the National Service years. I found it was a big part and I was having trouble learning the lines.

“I’ve had a fantastic time and I will still be helping to produce the pantomimes and acting as a consultant to help out and, although I won’t be doing any more writing, they will be using my scripts. I’ll still be around, I couldn’t walk away altogether, I don’t think they would let me.”

When Babes In The Wood take to the stage in January, the new dame will be 34-year-old Nick Challenger, who has been in panto a mere 20 years.