Gatehouse panto inspires art workshops at Staffordshire Women’s Aid


This season’s forthcoming rock ‘n’ roll pantomime, Aladdin, at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre is proving to be something of an artistic inspiration for individuals receiving support from local charity, Staffordshire Women’s Aid (SWA).

Since 1976 SWA has supported thousands of women and children experiencing or fleeing domestic and sexual violence in Staffordshire.

In recent weeks, women and children from SWA have been participating in workshops, led by artists Helen Wilson and Mark Uttley from the Independent Community Arts Partnership (ICAP), in order to create 1D light catchers themed in the style of the Aladdin pantomime.
Workshop facilitator Helen Wilson said:

“Everyone who has participated in these workshops has done so brilliantly – drawing characters and patterns associated with Aladdin or Chinese art, which is no easy task! Each of the women and children involved has also cut out their designs to create templates in order to recreate their designs in vinyls, which are then attached to clear acetates. The work will look great once showcased collectively at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre.”






Mark Uttley with Helen Wilson
Mark Uttley with Helen Wilson and some of the art

Dickie James Chief Executive of SWA said:

“We are so appreciative of this support from ICAP, made possible by Staffordshire County Council’s Community Arts Fund and Stafford Gatehouse Theatre. The women and children we support so often have very low self-esteem, and creative, collective activities like this help rebuild their sense of belief in their abilities. The end product of the workshops gives them a strong sense of achievement, and the support given enables them to feel they matter. It’s such a positive initiative.”

Workshop participants will also be attending a performance of Aladdin courtesy of Stafford Gatehouse Theatre. The work will be on show at the Gatehouse for the duration of the Panto.

Staffordshire Women’s Aid currently runs a 24-hour confidential helpline for women struggling with domestic violence. If you need help or advice, you can contact the organisation on 0870 2700 123. You can also find more information at –

Aladdin the “Wok ‘n’ Roll” Pantomime opens on Thursday 8th December 2016, and runs until Sunday 8th January 2017. Tickets can be booked by calling the box office on 01785 619080 or by visiting