Actors tread the boards in memory of Lancashire director

Tribute: The original production of Aladdin directed by Malcolm Clay

Tribute: The original production of Aladdin directed by Malcolm Clay

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Panto performers are preparing to tread the boards in memory of a much-loved director who died suddenly last year.

The Hoghton Pantomime Society is putting the finishing touches to its version of Aladdin in tribute to founder Malcolm Clay.

Malcolm Clay

Malcolm Clay

The play, using Malcolm’s own script, was first performed at Hoghton Village Hall nine years ago and will feature several performers who appeared in the original version.

Malcolm, who lived in Mellor with his wife Nora, set up the society, known as HotPants, a decade ago and put on a pantomime every other year until he died suddenly of a heart attack, aged 69.

Co-founder Russell Atkinson, who plays the role of Widow Twankey, said: “I have known Malcolm for 40 years. We were close friends since we were both young men.

“Sadly he died exactly one year ago and we were all determined that in his memory we should put on one of his favourite pantomimes.

“We will keep faithful to his original script and we are hoping those people who knew Malcolm will come along because this is very much in his image and in his memory.

“The society is much the poorer for his passing but his legacy will live on and we hope by using his original Aladdin pantomime we will set the foundation for our future.”

He said the group was looking forward to the opening night on January 22 as they aim to do Malcolm proud.

Proceeds from the interval raffle will go to the local Samaritans, a charity that was close to his heart.

Director Paul Heyworth said: “I’ve been in every pantomime that Malcolm directed and it seems strange to be doing a pantomime where he is not there. I’m really appreciating the effort the team is putting in and I am confident that we should be able to do something that will honour the script we have been left with.”

The group is putting on eight shows over two weeks at Hoghton Village Hall - on Friday nights, twice on Saturday and a Sunday matinee performance, ending on January 31.

Tickets cost £10 with concessions priced at £7. For tickets or to donate a raffle prize, call 01254 852258.