Starlight takes to the ‘stage’ again during the school holidays to entertain sick children stuck in hospital over the summer.
Pantomimes are not something we usually think about as a way of keeping the kids entertained during the summer holidays, but leading children’s charity Starlight Children’s Foundation kicked off its summer pantomime tour earlier this month with the first performance of Sleeping Beauty.
Produced exclusively for Starlight by The Panto Company, sick children and their families will have the opportunity to scream “he’s behind you”, “boo” and “hiss” at the villains and, of course, fall in love with the stars of the show; all from the safety of their hospital ward. It will also give families of sick children the opportunity to see their child distracted from their illness, laughing and having fun with the other children on the ward.
The pantomime run lasts for five weeks and thousands of sick children will get the chance to watch the pantomime as it visits 50 hospitals up and down the country. Look out for the brightly coloured Starlight van as it travels up and down the highways of the UK – inside will be Sleeping Beauty and the other cast members.
The young audience will also be given Starlight colouring pencils and colouring books to entertain them before the action starts; then the interactive theatre company, consisting of 4 actors will perform a very special performance of Sleeping Beauty.
Victoria Barr, Play Specialist at the Evelina Hospital in London, said: “The pantomime was fantastic for the children and it was great to see them all get involved and having fun with the actors. We are so grateful to Starlight for organising the event and for everything they do to support the hospital and our patients. It is wonderful that so many other sick children around the country will be able to experience this special event.”
Medical research has shown that laughter helps to relax children and this has a significant impact on how they deal with pain. As well as the hospital pantomimes Starlight also provides hospital parties, hospital outings, fun centres and distraction boxes. Distraction boxes are tool boxes full of toys used by play specialists and designed to distract children from painful procedures such as blood tests. Starlight fun centres contain a DVD player, TV and games consoles and can be wheeled right up to the bed when children are undergoing treatment like chemotherapy. The charity is best known for granting once-in-a-lifetime wishes for children with serious and terminal illnesses.
Starlight wishes give children a fun decision to make at a time when most decisions need to be made for them. A wish remains a positive focus throughout long periods of treatment or recuperation and is often remembered as the turning point in the child’s illness. Where possible, mums, dads, brothers and sisters are involved in the wish to help strengthen family bonds and give everyone in the family happy memories to share, no matter what the future may hold.
Contact: Henny Breakwell
Tel: 020 7262 2881 #231
Starlight grants a once-in-a-lifetime wish for seriously and terminally ill children, restoring the magic and fun of childhood and giving the whole family happy memories to share, whatever the future holds.
Starlight also creates entertainment in every hospital and hospice throughout the UK. Sick children go to Starlight parties, laugh their way through pantomimes, go out on Starlight Escapes, play games and watch films on the Starlight Fun Centre, and enjoy the toys and puzzles of the Starlight Distraction Box. Happy children respond better to treatment and Starlight helps children to forget about their illness and simply have a bit of fun.
You can make a donation online or by calling us on 020 7262 2881. For every £1 you donate, Starlight can assure you that 88p goes towards helping very ill children. To refer a child for a wish, simply complete our wish referral form.