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Free panto tickets for those in need as usual, despite COVID-19

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

adrianw@baylismedia.co.uk

The Kevin Cruise Foundation has sourced 425 free tickets for disadvantaged children, families and volunteers to attend pantomimes this Christmas.

Alongside Theatre Royal Windsor and David Kemp Productions, the foundation has aimed to continue to provide as many tickets as it would any other year – despite the grave financial impact on the foundation from COVID-19.

The tickets are for the performances at Braywick Leisure Centre and the Theatre Royal.

Foundation founder Martin Cabble-Reid is a familiar face in the borough, performing as his alter-ego Kevin Cruise.

The Eton resident said: “For us, this little bit of escapism is the most important thing in the world. This year more than ever, pantomime is going to be a much-needed few hours of escapism.

“I remember we gave a ticket to a child who was very ill. Going to the panto was the last thing his parents would have thought of – but he went with his siblings and had the best time ever.”

Like many charities, the Kevin Cruise Foundation has had its fundraising options severely curtailed this year.

It had to cancel the Kevin Cruise Foundation Ball, its main annual source of income. As a result, it is now using reserves to fund this year’s panto project.

For Martin as an actor, the Christmas pantomime is an important financial opportunity, especially after having missed five months of work.

“After 11 years at Windsor, the audience is like a family – every year, the same people come back. I recognise everyone in the first three or four rows,” he added.

A Cinderella performance in Windsor is due to take place on December 3 – a day after lockdown lifts.

Though the performances can be moved to the New Year if need be, Martin is hoping it will not come to that.

“Christmas is not the same without panto,” he said. “It’s the last tradition of the year and it’s important to keep that tradition going.”

Though certain parts of the performance, such as inviting children on to the stage, cannot take place this year, pantomime does not require a great deal of changes in performance style to adapt it for COVID-19.

As it has been unable to complete any fundraising this year and has missed out on usual grants that have instead gone to COVID-related causes, the Kevin Cruise Foundation is in need of funds.

To support the foundation, visit www.kevincruisefoundation.org.uk/

The Kevin Cruise Foundation has sourced 425 free tickets for disadvantaged children, families and volunteers to attend pantomimes this Christmas.

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