Pantos at Hill End
L. A. Frost's memories of fine entertainment at the Hospital
By C D
L.A .Frost remarked on the enthusiasm with which the Barts staff (at Hill End), doctors, students, nurses, almoners, porters etc entered into the spirit of helping in the entertainments within the hospital, including participating in some of the pantomimes which were organised every year, written by members of the staff, and rehearsed many times ……For a whole week shows would be put on and the standards were very, very good. Jack and the Beanstalk, Red Riding Hood etc and Frank who played the Widow Twankie character so often brought the house down. One of the male junior registrars was most successful playing the Fairy Queen, complete with wand and of course tights.
Jack the Giant Killer was produced one year. The giant was appropriately menacing with his special costume and make-up – 10 feet high. His threatening voice was achieved with the aid of a microphone, amplifier and loudspeaker strapped to his chest – all skilfully devised by the hospital electricians.
‘I believe the Hill End pantomimes were amongst the very first to use ultra violet light to produce the special ghostly and terrifying effects.’
L. A. Frost also notes that ‘there was a proper orchestra pit below the proscenium and a full orchestra rehearsed …..they were in regular demand throughout the years for all sorts of functions.’
Extracts from L.A.Frost’s recollections of Hill End Hospital 1995
St Albans Museums