North West Wales

Skype: Llandudno panto live to Great Ormond Street

(From left): Great Ormond Street patient Xavier Delcambre, Paul Nicholas and Craig Revel Horwood
Image caption Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood (right) came up with the idea of a live relay to Great Ormond Street Hospital

A pantomime has been broadcast live via Skype from a north Wales theatre to a children's hospital in London in what has been hailed as a world first.

The Peter Pan production at Venue Cymru, Llandudno, was relayed on a big screen for sick children at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

A Venue Cymru spokeswoman said the theatre was "thrilled" to be involved.

Skype hailed it as a "wonderful experience" while the hospital said it would be a treat for its patients.

The idea was the brainchild of Skype and pantomime producer Qdos Entertainment, which is staging productions across Britain.

It was asked by Skype to choose a pantomime to be shown live to the patients at Great Ormond Street.

Lesley Downie, of Qdos, said the Llandudno show was "the obvious thing to do" because of the Peter Pan connection with Great Ormond Street.

In 1929, the story's creator JM Barrie gave all the rights to Peter Pan to the hospital, which has received royalties every time a production of the play is staged.

The performance was relayed on Thursday afternoon.

Matt Jordan, Skype's technical manager for broadcast and media integrations, said: "We're taking it to a new and exciting level, with this being the world's first live pantomime Skype.

"We have a crew at the theatre in Wales offering up multiple camera shots of the panto as it's taking place."

'Very human'

High-definition images were then processed via Skype on to a big screen in Great Ormond Street.

Mr Jordan, normally based in America, admitted he was "brand new to the world of panto", but said he had been working on the project for six months.

"Here is this technical application but we're really doing something that's very human," he said.

"These children that can not get out to see a panto will be able to have this wonderful experience.

"Our goal is to make it seem as if they were sitting in the auditorium itself."

The Llandudno pantomime stars Blue Peter presenter Barney Harwood.

Sarah Ecob, Venue Cymru general manager, said: "It's just a really lovely thing to be involved in.

"We have got Barney Harwood this year, and you couldn't ask for a better pantomime star.

"All the children in this area are so excited that Barney's here.

"There's a real buzz about it, and to be able to transmit that to the kids at Great Ormond Street is wonderful."

The idea was launched earlier this year with the help of Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood.

Katie Simmons, senior fundraising manager at Great Ormond Street Hospital children's charity, said: "It's fantastic we're able to broadcast a performance of Peter Pan live into the hospital.

"It's a great treat for our patients who might not be able to get to a pantomime this year."

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