HAF Northants offers 100s of free Christmas panto tickets for eligible families in the county

Families receiving free school meal related benefits in Northamptonshire are invited to watch a pantomime for free at theatres across Northamptonshire this Christmas.
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Around 1,900 theatre places are available as part of the HAF Northants programme. Funded by the government, HAF stands for ‘Holidays Activity and Food’ and is available to eligible families across every local authority in England.

This year, charity Northamptonshire Sport, who deliver the programme locally, have added theatre visits to the list of things to do during the school holidays. In addition to the 91 different camps, offering 11,000 places across the county, families can also share a fun and cultural experience to watch a pantomime.

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HAF aims to relieve the pressure some families experience during school holidays. In particular, increased costs to cover childcare and food during holidays can cause stress. Research also shows at holiday times, children from disadvantaged families are more likely to experience social isolation and ‘unhealthy holidays’ in relation to nutrition and exercise.

Royal & Derngate in Northampton, showing Snow WhiteRoyal & Derngate in Northampton, showing Snow White
Royal & Derngate in Northampton, showing Snow White

HAF Northants responds to the issues faced by some families by providing a programme of consistent and easily accessible enriching activities. The holiday clubs and experiences are free of charge for young people who qualify for free school meals and those considered to be vulnerable.

Gary Sheppard, Strategic Director at Northamptonshire Sport said,

“Northamptonshire Sport is delighted to be working with local theatres to provide opportunities for families to enjoy experiences like pantomimes, which for many families are a quintessential part of the Christmas holidays. There are a wide range of dates and venues available, these performances will bring fun, joy and memories for families to reflect on for years to come.”

The theatres partnering with HAF Northants are:

The Core at Corby Cube showing, Cinderella

Castle Theatre in Wellingborough, showing Cinderella

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The Lighthouse Theatre in Kettering, showing The Wizard of Oz

Martin Cleverley, General Manager at Castle Theatre in Wellingborough, said:

“We at Castle Theatre are overjoyed to be partnering with HAF this year, bringing a theatre experience to those who may otherwise not get the opportunity, especially at Christmas time. We hope this brings a great deal of relief to families over the Christmas period and it is so heartwarming to see other local theatres taking part.”

The programme includes some ‘relaxed performances’ where elements of the show are adapted to reduce anxiety and stress. These performances benefit those on the autistic spectrum, younger audiences or those with learning difficulties or additional needs.

Bookings for HAF Northants panto experiences and winter school holiday clubs are open, to book and to check eligibility for the programme visit www.hafnorthants.org