PANTO time is fast approaching – and that means it's time to get the knitting needles out.

Each year, hundreds of knitted objects are incorporated into the show at Richmond's Georgian Theatre Royal, as missiles to be hurled by the audience during the action or as elaborate decorations to adorn the historic building.

This year the theatre is appealing for knitted doughnuts, which will be used during the 54 performances of The Wizard of Oz, taking place between December 7 and January 7.

The tradition first started in 2011 when over 1,000 bananas were knitted for The Adventures of Sinbad; the following year nearly 3,000 white snowball pompoms were amassed for Babes in the Wood.

Around 2,500 leaves were knitted to construct a huge decorative beanstalk for Jack and the Beanstalk; and last year over 2,000 apples made their way onto the set of Snow White.

The show's director, theatre chief executive Clare Allen, said: “One of the great things about our pantomime is that it involves the whole community. As soon as we announced the title of this year’s production, people began asking what they would be knitting.

“Some knitters even make a social occasion of it and get together at each other’s houses for knitting parties and various groups like the WI take it on as a special project. How the doughnuts will actually be used in the show is of course top secret and all will be revealed when the curtain goes up.”

There will be a trophy, donated by Richmond’s CJ Lightfoot jewellers for the largest number of doughnuts knitted by any one individual. Last year’s winner created a grand total of 246 apples but several other people came very close.

  • Doughnut patterns are available to pick up in the Theatre’s Box Office or by visiting the panto page on the Theatre’s website. Alternatively, people can make up their own designs – all colours and sizes are welcomed.
  • Finished doughnuts can be handed in at the box office or posted to The Georgian Theatre Royal, Victoria Road, Richmond, DL10 4DW up until December 1.