A pantomime group that raises money for charities will be performing for the last time as the cost-of-living crisis has brought the show to a standstill.

The group, called The Village Moonlighters based in Abbots Langley, will hold its final performance in January 2023, its first time back since Covid struck.

Having been active in the village for 25 years, the performers are saddened by the closure and news The Three Musketeers will be the final show.

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Sarah Cunnane, one of the group’s performers and a board member, said: “Unfortunately, with the cost-of-living crisis, prices have gone up.

“The costumes cost more, the venues have gone up and they will go up even more in 2024.

“We had to look at what we can do, and we couldn’t make the finances work.” 

She added: “There is a lot of sadness among the cast.

“We have members who have been part of the pantomime since it started all those years ago.”

Watford Observer: The group at a recent rehearsal. The group at a recent rehearsal. (Image: Sarah Cunnane)

And while the group has no official plans to return, they are hopeful that there could one day be a chance to perform again.  

“We have been very clear that this is our last performance, and we want to go out with a bang,” she said.

Ms Cunnane added: “But who knows in a few years’ time when things might be better, never say never.

“The two things you need to put on a great show are the funds and committed, compassionate performers.

“We have never been short of people who want to put on a great show full of terrible jokes.”

Watford Observer: Some people have been members of the group since it started 25 years ago. Some people have been members of the group since it started 25 years ago. (Image: Sarah Cunnane)

Every year proceeds from the ticket sales are donated to a chosen charity.

Ms Cunnane said: “But to donate to the charities, we would have had to put up the ticket prices and we know a lot of people are struggling.

“We don’t want the families to have to pay more.”

But for the final time, fundraising will go to The Hospice of St Francis.

It was chosen because it cared for the group’s former bandleader, Dave Smale, who passed away from bowel cancer in May 2020.

The show is being performed at the Henderson Hub in Abbots Langley between 12 and 14 January.