Young patients in a hospital ward were enchanted by the allure of a regal ball during a unique visit from performers of a pantomime.

The cast of Gala Durham’s spellbinding production of Cinderella visited Treetops children’s ward and paediatric assessment area at the University Hospital of North Durham to meet young patients, parents, and staff.

Dressed in full costume, actors Jude Nelson, Charlotte Bradley, Jessica Brady and James Carson arrived as Buttons, Cinderella (also known as Ella), the Fairy Godmother and one of the mice to give the youngsters a boost before Christmas.

The children have also been given the chance to see this year’s magical panto, with a specially recorded version of the performance provided by the Durham County Council-run venue for them to watch with their families over the festive season.

Charlotte Bradley, who plays Ella, said: “It was such a heart-warming experience to be able to share some festive cheer with the children, families and staff at Treetops ward. Being able to go to the pantomime is a Christmas tradition which many families enjoy, so we are delighted we were able to make sure the children didn’t miss out on the magic even if they were unable to go to the theatre in person.”

Alison Crozier, child health matron at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We work hard to do all we can to ensure the children who are with us in hospital in the lead up to Christmas and over the festive period don’t miss out on Christmas fun. We’re very grateful to the Gala pantomime cast for taking the time to visit us. The children love meeting the actors, especially in their costumes and make up – and our staff love the smile it brings to the faces of our young patients and their families.”  

Critics and audiences alike have been spellbound by Gala Durham’s new take on the oldest fairy tale of all time.

Full of magic and excitement, audiences can expect breath-taking dance routines, sing-along music and unforgettable moments in this new re-telling of the classic story.

Written by Gary Kitching and directed by Rachel Glover, audiences can have a ball with Gala Durham’s panto which runs until Saturday 6 January with the best availability on January performances.

Tickets priced from £15, with family discounts also available, can be booked by calling 03000 266 600 or online at

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