A community theatre in Bromyard is determined not to let the arts die as it forges ahead with an ambitious project “to bring pantomime to everyone during the coronavirus pandemic”.

Artists within the media industry in Herefordshire have come together to create a unique piece of work at the Conquest Theatre, in response to the national closure of theatres due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Not allowing the pandemic to put a halt to the performing arts, Rebecca Cook has produced, written, and directed #Panto_Demic! a 30-minute short film.

Knowing how difficult it has been for many within the creative arts industry, Miss Cook set out to create a performance which would use and support media professionals “while bringing the local community a slice of laughter and normality during a time of such uncertainty”.

She said: “This has been a devastating year for the creative arts.

“Theatres have been forced to close their doors, artists have been unable to work and pantomimes have been cancelled. Pantomime is a popular and traditional activity enjoyed annually by schools and families. It is a great way for children to engage, have fun and inspire their creativity.”

Miss Cook added: “In this difficult time, we have never needed the arts more to inspire, entertain and bring the community together.”

#Panto_Demic! written by Miss Cook, follows seven devious panto villains as they join a ‘Zoom’ call to plot just how they can carry out their cunning schemes during this strange and uncertain time.

Miss Cook was furloughed from her day job as an Education Officer and Youth Theatre Leader at The Courtyard in Hereford back in March.

She said: “It’s especially important not to let the arts die. The arts are imperative to society as they inspire, develop and bring communities together.”

“#Panto_demic! showcases the talent, determination and passion that Herefordshire has to offer - to lose our local artists would be devastating!”

A self-created short film is a first for the almost thirty-year-old Conquest Theatre. Since its closure in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the theatre has only held one event to date,

#Panto_Demic! is a 30-minute short film set to release on digital and on DVD in late November. It will be available upon release from www.conquest-theatre.co.uk