A PANTOMIME group starts the new year with its production of a classic children’s story this month.

Members of Maldon Pantomime Society have been working on their production of The Wizard of Oz throughout the year.

The panto is taking place at Maldon Town Hal on Friday, January 17 and Saturday, January 18.

A spokesman said: “Once again, this year’s production has a large cast containing all of the favourite characters – as well as some new ones.

“We have added several talented newcomers to the cast, as well as having a wonderful chorus.

“It’s directed by Kevin Dawson-Jennings, with musical direction by Ben Markham and the script written by Louise Markham.

“It has four colourful backdrops, more than 40 costumes made under the guidance of the wonderful Kathy Thomas, who sewed many of the costumes herself.

“Chris Patching and his backstage crew have built flats, which are the large moveable parts of scenery, and made props which really bring the story to life.”

The society has been performing Christmas pantomimes every year for more than 20 years.

The spokesman said: “The whole production comes together every year thanks to a great team of dedicated amateurs.

“But is it amateurish? Oh no, it isn’t!

“Maldon Pantomime exceeds expectations year after year and is always a sell-out.

“So, get ready to clap along to the music, boo the baddies, cheer with the heroes and laugh along at this year’s festive pantomime.”

The talented group has previously performed Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Dick Whittington, Aladdin, and Snow White, among many more.

The spokesman added: “We believe a good quality pantomime is important as this is often the first introduction to live theatre for children.”

The Friday show is at 7.30pm to 10pm and the Saturday performances are at 1.30pm and 6.30pm.

Tickets are £11 (£9 concessions) from Maldon Tourist Information Centre or on the door.