Costume drama for the Stamford Pantomime Players

Michael Lee, Rosie Turp, eight, Shaun Walker, Annabel Walker, nine, and Sarah Healey' from Stamford Pantomime Players who lost props at Stamford Selfstore at Great Casterton
Michael Lee, Rosie Turp, eight, Shaun Walker, Annabel Walker, nine, and Sarah Healey' from Stamford Pantomime Players who lost props at Stamford Selfstore at Great Casterton

A PANTOMIME company is counting the cost after a fire at a storage warehouse destroyed its entire costume collection.

Flames ripped through the Stamford Selfstore building in Ryhall Road, Great Casterton, at about 6.50pm on Friday last week.

Six fire engines and 35 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze, which was not put out until 9.45am on Saturday.

The fire destroyed many of the storage containers inside, one of which was being rented by the Stamford Pantomime Players.

The unit was home to the group’s entire costume collection, which had been collected over 60 years and used in hundreds of performances.

Chairman Liz Paige said “We are waiting to gain permission to access the unit to see exactly what damage has been caused, but the initial report from the police is that everything has gone”.

The players have a yearly cast of between 80 and 100 people, including many young children. A normal performance requires around 240 costume changes, spread over three sets of dancers, a large chorus and principal cast.

Many of the costumes destroyed in the blaze were bought in the 1950s from a theatre in London. One of the best-loved outfits was a two-person cow costume, which featured moving eyes, mouth and udders.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated. The players are now coming to terms with the loss which could jeopardise the upcoming performance of Puss In Boots, set to take place at Stamford Corn Exchange from December 27 to 31.

A spokesman said: “We had hundreds of animal costumes for the children, two large horse costumes, more than 30 dame’s dresses and beautiful fairy princess outfits and thousands of sets of chorus and dancer outfits.

“Many of these are irreplaceable.

“The devastating position we are now in will put massive pressure on trying to get enough costumes together to kit out our forthcoming pantomime which is not far away.”

The group estimates costuming a full pantomime cast would cost about £10,000. Members have been working hard on their latest production and are desperate to find replacement outfits.

The spokesman added: “If anyone could help us by donating any unwanted bridesmaid dresses, hats and fancy dress costumes, please bring them to the Corn Exchange box office, where they will collect them for us.

“We so hope the local community will support us by purchasing tickets for Puss in Boots to hopefully boost our morale at this present time and to spur the children on to produce an amazing show.”

If you are unable to make it to the Corn Exchange in person, call them on 01780 766455.