Thame Players are staging Dick Whittington as their ever-popular pantomime this year. It opens on Friday 6 December at the Players Theatre, Thame, and promises to be at least as much fun as previous pantomimes, if not more.
Dick Whittington is one of the best-known and best-loved family pantomimes, based on the traditional story of Dick coming to London, hoping to make his fortune.
Falsely accused of theft, he starts the journey back to Gloucestershire, when he hears the ringing of Bow Bells. They seem to him to say, ‘Turn again Whittington, three times Lord Mayor of London’. So Dick returns to the capital where, after various adventures, he finally becomes wealthy, is made Lord Mayor of London, marries his sweetheart and lives happily ever after.
The story is based on real life. The real Richard Whittington, born around 1354, was the third son of a wealthy Gloucestershire family who came to London as a young man to become a mercer. He was four times Lord Mayor of London, a member of parliament and a sheriff of London.
In his lifetime he financed public projects such as drainage systems in poor areas of medieval London and a hospital ward for unmarried mothers.
When he was 42, he married Alice Fitzwaryn, daughter of another wealthy city merchant. He died in 1423, bequeathing his fortune to form the Charity of Sir Richard Whittington. Nearly 600 years later, this charity continues to help people in need.
Dick Whittington is being performed at the Players Theatre, Thame OX9 2DP from 6-8 December and from 11-15 December. Tickets are £10, concessions £9, available from Thame Town Hall Information Centre, either in person Monday-Friday (check opening times at https://www.thametowncouncil.gov.uk/contact-us/) or on 01844 212833, or from thameplayers.co.uk