OLD MOTHER Hubbard is the title of this year’s pantomime at Oakworth Methodist Church.

Children from the village are taking the stage to present an adaptation of the nursery rhyme set in the Old West.

This will be the first time the Oakworth panto will be performed in purpose-built facilities following extension work to the church building.

Several years of fundraising culminated in the construction of new meeting rooms, offices, toilets and storage space behind the existing building.

This month’s pantomime looks at what happens after Old Mother Hubbard and her family are evicted from their home.

Along with sons Bobby and Hughie, pretty young daughter Polly and Dandy the Wonder Dog, the lady is granted a wish by the Sunshine Fairy to try to find their long-lost Uncle Oswald.

David said: “In a blinding flash, they are magically transported to a sun-baked prairie in the Wild, Wild West. Enter Tex Laramie, a dashing young cowboy, along with sidekick Old Tumbleweed, a disreputable but likeable old-timer. Together they all set out to unravel the mystery of Uncle Ossie’s disappearance.

“Along the way, among the many characters they meet are the villainous Matt Vinyl and his cronies, the seductive Miss Lulabelle, the beautiful young squaw Little Deer and the imposing Big Chief Thunder Cloud.”

David promises rip-roaring Wild West songs and spectacular dance numbers from the entire cast.

He added: “The obligatory saloon swing doors ensure a real Wild West experience for cast and audience alike. So enjoy the excitement and laughter as you are carried along in yet another rollicking, fun-packed, spectacular adventure.”

The pantomime – which usually sells out most of its performances – will allow audiences to see the church’s new theatrical facilities at first hand.

In previous years volunteers have built a temporary theatre in the church, including wooden stage, backstage area, curtains and elaborate scenery. The redesign of the church gave the building permanent ‘wings’ on both sides, a fly tower to drop scenery, and better access for actors and backstage crew.

In past years the stage itself has taken many hours to build and dismantle each winter, but a new temporary stage has been created that can be put in and out in a couple of hours.

The new wooden sections, which fit snugly together, were made by Keith Howarth, the nonagenarian father of panto writer David Howarth. David creates the on the show each year with Judith Chapman.

Although building the stage may have been easier, the church’s volunteer team of designers, carpenters and painters had no intention of resting on their laurels.

As in previous years, they have spent several weeks building a complicated, imaginative set on top of the basic framework to allow for the usual surprise moments and jaw-dropping effects for audience members.

David said: “The costumes, scenery and special effects on our new stage are as wonderful as ever - including our acclaimed UV scene, this year in the Red Indian Camp.”

There will be eight performances of Old Mother Hubbard between throughout the half-term holidays, from February 16 to 23.

The performances: 2pm on both Saturdays, plus 7pm on both Saturdays, and the Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Visit oakworthmethodists.org/tickets to buy tickets.