Jack and the Beanstalk has taken up centre stage at Sunderland Empire until 7 January 2018 and theatre bosses are urging theatregoers to continue their generosity and dig deep for Red Sky Ball for CHUF this month as final collections hit full steam ahead for the theatresCharity of the Year 2017.  

Ben Phillips, Theatre Director, Sunderland Empire said:

“We have seen immense generosity from patrons at bucket collections over the year and we would urge visitors to Jack and the Beanstalk to spare a few beans for this worthy cause. I’ve been delighted to see my team get behind our Charity of the Year and organise a number of successful fundraisers to secure further donations for Red Sky Ball for CHUF, with funds raised benefiting many families across the North East.”

Red Sky Ball was set up by Sergio Petrucci and his wife Emma after the care their daughter Luna received at the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital, which is one of only two specialist units in the UK that can carry out complex heart surgery on babies and children.

Red Sky Ball for CHUF aims to make life that little bit more comfortable for families, whether it be providing a parent’s emergency wash bag, gadgets and games or the essential equipment and machinery needed to save little lives, every penny counts.

Sergio Petrucci for Red Sky Ball said:

“From initial set up of Red Sky Ball we have raised £140,000 to date, this has helped fund two echo scanner machines and a specialist heart transplant machine to keep hearts viable for up to 24 hours.

The recent afternoon tea organised my staff at the Sunderland Empire helped Red Sky Ball fund a cardiogram machine for the neonatal ward in Sunderland Royal. We owe a huge debt to the heart specialists for saving Luna’s life and we hope to raise enough money from further bucket collections at this season’s panto to enable us buy more essential equipment on a wish list to help care for Wearside babies and children.”

Luna met up with the cast of Jack and the Beanstalk including Nick Jr’s Jade Natalie ‘Princess Jill’, TV legend Janine Duvitski as Vegetable Fairy, Bill Ward (Emmerdale and Coronation Street) as the giant’s henchman, Fleshcreep, Philip Meeks as Dame Trott, Legally Blonde the Musicals, David Barrett as fairy-tale hero Jack and Charlie Guest, Simple Simon

Janine Duvitski, is well-known as the loveable Jaqueline Stewart in ITV1’s award-winning, Benidorm, alongside roles in Abigail’s Party, One Foot in the Grave and CBeebies’ Old Jack’s Boat, to name but a few! Newcastle born theatre and soap star Bill Ward is set to return to his roots in the North and is best known for his work on two of the UK’s leading Soaps, Emmerdale and Coronation Street.

Jack and the Beanstalk is set to be another spectacular panto that promises to add a fairy tale touch to your festive season with a magical family offer on a range of performances until 7 January 2018.

Sunderland Empire, 18 December 2017

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