Becky Yelland, PTA Chair, Wallace Fields Infant School, Ewell, Surrey (180 pupils) told us: 'We ran our annual after-school pantomime event in the first week of January. It was something fun for pupils, and the PTA were looking forward to organising it! We booked the pantomime supplier a year in advance – as it’s obviously a seasonal fundraiser, they tend to get booked up quickly. We used Mance Productions, as
we know them well.
They were quick to set up, which was important for an event held at the end of the school day. The theatre group is made up of three performers. The panto was of high quality and featured just the right content for the intended audience – with a song or two and a few jokes tailored to whatever the kids were "into" at the time!
Other than booking the panto company and school hall, organisation was fairly minimal – creating promotional material and sending out booking forms was all that was involved. Luckily we have a good relationship with a local design firm, who helped us create flyers. We asked parents to give their children’s details, emergency contact number, and £6 to cover the cost of the show and a snack to keep the children going.
As this event was run after school it was easy to ensure that teachers were around to escort the children into the hall and tell them what kind of behaviour was expected! In previous years, we have convinced them to stay around to lend a hand – returning the children to their parents at the end. This was the biggest challenge for volunteers, who just didn’t know everyone in each class as well!
We set up a quiet room in one of the classrooms for any children who needed a break – providing them with colouring sheets to keep them amused. Snacks were given out in the classrooms when the school day ended – biscuits, fruit and juice or water to drink. One year, we tried to do a combo-bag with popcorn and sweets, but this took too much organising – our motto is always "keep it simple"!
The upfront costs came to £460, which included hire of the pantomime company and snacks. Our takings were £880, which made us a profit of £420. This was less money than we make at our other events, but it was one of our most successful children-only fundraisers of the year!'