Fearsome pirates, gorgeous babes and talking animals will be treading the boards in a community pantomime’s ruby anniversary show.

The New Eltham Pantomime was first put on in January, 1972 by am-dram church members who were fundraising for new stage curtains.

It was a runaway success, and decades later the annual panto is a thriving tradition which raises money for New Eltham Methodist Church and the community centre.

Treasure Wonderland, which runs in January, will see the classic tales of Peter Pan, Treasure Island and Alice in Wonderland merging together in an exciting musical based on the group’s first ever show.

Michael Chuter, writer and director, told Vibe: “The cast includes performers as young as five and as old as 80 and includes any adult who wants to take part, whatever their ability or disability.

“It is a truly all inclusive show, whose cleverly adapted songs and jokes to suit all ages (particularly those from the Neolithic to the early Bronze) attracts audiences from across the south-east.”

Still featuring six members from the original cast, The New Eltham Pantomime is barely recognisable in terms of technical achievement and production values from the group which came together in the summer of 1971.

Past productions have included Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White and The Magnificent Seven and The Princess and the Pea.

Michael, who is an accountant by day, added: “We’re very pleased to be able to do our small bit to bring cheer in what is otherwise a bloody dull month.

“Our musical director is from The BRIT School and we have students in our band.

“There is a song from Enchanted, we’ve shamelessly pinched from Gilbert and Sullivan – there’s something for everyone.

“No-one will leave disappointed.

“We must be doing something right after all these years.

“It’s the one show a year we can spend a bit of money on and our stories are as good as you will see in most am-dram theatres.”

Performances will be held on January 5, 11 and 12 at the community centre in Footscray Road.

Profits will go towards the upkeep of the centre.

For bookings call 0208 8519881 or visit newelthampantomime.co.uk