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Derby Panto Dame Uses Empty Theatre Seats To Highlight Urgent Fostering Demand

The 640 empty seats each represent a Derby child in care

The cast of this season's Derby Arena pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, has teamed up with Derby City Council’s fostering department to highlight the number of children in care-seeking a family of their own.

This specially recorded video was filmed onstage at Derby Arena where the pantomime ended its run last Saturday.

But instead of focusing on the colourful pantomime set, the camera looks outwards onto around 640 empty seats in the auditorium, each of which could be filled by a child in care in Derby who could benefit from a stable and loving foster home.

The clip features Sophia Lewis, who plays Princess Rose, and Morgan Brind, who plays the princess’s doting nanny, Nurse Nancy Nightly.

They encourage viewers interested in fostering to find out more at derby.gov.uk/fostering, and to return next year, filling the seats with happy and safe children.

Morgan Brind and Alan Bowles from Little Wolf Entertainment said: "For many people, their first childhood pantomime is a precious memory.

"Every child deserves to make happy memories as they grow up, and we were more than happy to support Derby City Council’s campaign to find more foster carers, especially at this time of year."

The city council is also looking for new foster carers to join its team. Currently, some children are fostered through independent fostering agencies, which is both more expensive and can result in children being relocated to homes many miles away.

Each year it costs millions of pounds to pay for foster care for the council's looked-after children.

Councillor Evonne Williams, the city council cabinet member for children and young people, said: "Seeing that number of empty seats is very thought-provoking and if it makes just one person start thinking about becoming a foster carer, it will be a success.

"We are grateful to Little Wolf Entertainment and the cast members of Sleeping Beauty for giving up their time to highlight our campaign."

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