World first as Newcastle panto is screened in 150 hospitals

The Northern Echo: LIVE BROADCAST: Panto star Chris Hayward who will appear in Jack and the Beanstalk LIVE BROADCAST: Panto star Chris Hayward who will appear in Jack and the Beanstalk

CHILDREN across the country will be given a festive treat this weekend as a North-East pantomime is beamed live to hospitals around the UK and Ireland.

Young patients in more than 150 NHS hospitals will be able to see Jack and the Beanstalk live from the Theatre Royal in Newcastle, broadcast to bedside TVs on Saturday.

The unique national broadcast follows the success of last year’s experimental screening of Aladdin to 6,700 children in hospitals around the North-East.

Theatre Royal trustee Howard Tait came up with the idea and persuaded those taking part in the project to give up their services for free.

He said: "We are often able to bring a small number of more mobile children from hospital to the show, and seeing the children’s faces light up just made me wonder how we could extend this magic to many more children unable to leave their beds.

"As far as we are aware this has never been done before, anywhere in the world.

"It’s been a long time in the planning and I’m so pleased we got there in the end - for many this will be a dream come true."

Theatre chief executive Philip Bernays added: "To be able to screen the show to so many hospitals is absolutely remarkable – Howard has worked very hard in planning this project over the past three years and we are extremely delighted with what he has achieved."

Jack and the Beanstalk, starring Clive Webb, Danny Adams, and Chris Hayward, will be shown live at 2pm and repeated at 4pm and 6pm.

The panto itself runs at the Theatre Royal until Saturday, January 18, with tickets priced from £11 available on 08448 112121.

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