This week saw the Pantomime Promo team and I get ourselves into a spot, or should I say a “zig zag” of bother as we embarked on our Schools and Community tour as the Dick Whittington Pantomime preparation cranks up a few notches…Yes we have been out and about: On foot, On bicycles and especially in our Bassetts Pantomime Car “Twirley Bassey” travelling all over Carmarthen, Llanelli, Swansea Brecon and Neath and Port Talbot, as this year our production will travel to 4 South Wales Theatre Venues. Lessons have been learnt indeed and who knew that the Citroen Bassett Dick Whittington car and a series of photos posted of its whereabouts would make headlines so dramatically…
“Extra Extra Read all about it!” or maybe you haven’t as yet, but our company and Pantomime hit the news stories of Wales Online and South Wales Evening Post with a firm telling off from one “parent” following the launch of our schools tour.
The promotional team, along with the cast of Dick Whittington and I have recently spent the week driving to a number of schools (38 to date!) all over South Wales delivering free workshops and assemblies to pupils and staff on a number of key issues including anti bullying, fire safety and healthy eating as part of a huge push in community engagement.
It has been wonderful to meet each class of pupils and school staff to welcome them back to the school year and get them prepped and excited for Christmas and our Pantomime. It has also been great to have the support of Citroen Bassetts in allowing us to drive their AMAZING car on this tour and to assist us in continuing our work of community engagement as working with young people is key to our company ethos and policy.
The South Wales Evening Post have also been along for the ride as not only have we been talking about the exciting DICK WHITTINGTON Pantomime we have planned for this Christmas and New Year at the following venues: (Lyric Theatre Carmarthen, Penyrheol Theatre Swansea, Theatr Brycheiniog Brecon, Princess Royal Theatre Port Talbot) but it was been excellent to launch the BUDDY BENCH scheme which we as a company are delighted to sponsor at Pontlliw Primary School, the school where Nia and I attended during our youth. The Buddy Bench campaign sees colourful benches given to a number of schools to encourage positive and friendly play at break time at all schools in South Wales.
As part of our Promotional Dick Whittington tour, we have been capturing photographic evidence of each school visit during class /lesson time, this has been involving the branded Citroen Bassett Dick Whittington car and each School sign and logo that we have visited. When doing this, at least 2 members of our promotional team have been present, and the car has been parked near the school logo or gates with hazard lights on. This is to give evidence and fun images of all the places we have visited each day and to also give credit and Thanks to each school and its staff by including their school sign / logo.
However, an innocent photo didn’t please one particular parent which saw the Pantomime car parked stationary (with hazard lights on) to include the Cwmafan Primary School logo / sign along with Twirley Bassey herself.
We hold our hands and headlights up, (Oh yes we do!) that we were parked in an unsafe place during lessons on this school day for this photograph opportunity but just want to reiterate that this was purely for a promotional photograph.
When the Cast and I have been inside the school giving their Educational Performance and presentation, the car has then been driven by members of our team and parked in one of the school car parks and off street parking close by as we really do understand the importance of Road Safety, (so much so that it is one of the Performance Assemblies we offer about the Dick Whittington Pantomime.)
Children’s safety is our highest importance and priority and bringing this to our attention has indeed been a lesson learnt. It is important for all to know that we completely understand the concern for children’s safety on and off the road, in and out of schools time, in our classes, presentations and at our theatres and productions.
We deeply apologise for any mis concern that our promotional school logo photo has caused, to any parents, followers of our Pantomime and to Mrs Roberts who so kindly brought this is our attention, (no not by calling me personally or getting in touch with my team, or emailing anyone from our company with concerns, or even by taking the time to message on the very said social media… but by going straight to South Wales Media!)
The greatest and upmost of care will be taken in all future promotional shots, with and without the Bassett’s Pantomime car. We have also apologised to the wonderful Head teacher Mr Lee Workman of Cwmafan Primary School, and to everyone at the school for any offence caused and we look forward to seeing them at the Panto in Port Talbot in January 2017!
The JP team and I absolutely love our followers and audiences and can’t Thank you enough for your interest and support in our productions and for the support and kind words following this ordeal. The schools involved in our most recent tour have also been so welcoming about our Dick Whittington Cast delivering such positive feedback from this unique way of learning outside of the usual classroom format and we really look forward to seeing so many of you at this season’s Pantomime! Mark x