Alternative Medicine Theatre Company celebrate 30 years

The Alternative Medicine Theatre Company's cast of 2015 for the production of Sleeping Beauty.
The Alternative Medicine Theatre Company's cast of 2015 for the production of Sleeping Beauty.

Once Upon A Time, in 1985, a group of dedicated healthcare professionals from Ballymena decided to combine their love for the theatre with their passion for the health sector and formed an amateur theatre company.

Their mission was to produce pantomimes for patients and their families, as well as their colleagues and members of the public.

Cinderella 1985.

Cinderella 1985.

Recognising the power of fun and laughter in supporting the recovery of patients, and to raise awareness of the health sector and services, the Alternative Medicine Theatre Company was born.

The cast and crew were made up entirely of Waveney Hospital staff with doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, secretaries, porters and laboratory staff all volunteering their free time to produce the company’s first pantomime, Cinderella.

It took place in the Recreational Hall on the site of the Waveney Hospital, where it stayed until 1998.

By that time, the pantomimes were attracting such large crowds that it had to move to Ballymena Town Hall or, as it is known today, The Braid Arts Centre.

As well as volunteering their time and enthusiasm for free, the company decided to donate all of the proceeds from the ticket sales to local health services or charities – a proud tradition that the company continues to this day.

Over the years, the Alternative Medicine Theatre Company has donated tens of thousands of pounds to over 30 different health and social care charities, often directly to the local Ballymena branches that support our local community.

Last year alone, the company donated over £4,000 to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy following the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Over the last 30 years, the company has grown and developed to consist of people from all ages and background with two common interests – a love of the theatre and a passion to use their talents to benefit the local community and health services.

To celebrate the incredible milestone of The Alternative Medicine Theatre’s 30th Anniversary, they company is delighted to announce a very special reunion dinner in the Adair Arms Hotel on Friday, January 29 at 7.30pm.

Tickets will be priced at £25 per person to include a four-course meal and after dinner entertainment.

So if you were involved in any way with the company over the last 30 years, whether onstage, backstage, making costumes, hair and make-up, or have simply been a supporter of the company and its pantomimes, the reunion will celebrate all of wonderful shows and the fantastic people who made them happen.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please email alternativemedicinetheatre@gmail.com or call 07541778223

That is not to forget this year’s very special 30th Anniversary pantomime – Sleeping Beauty.

For the first time ever, the cast will be supported by a live band, adding that extra bit of sparkle to the shows from which all proceeds will go to the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health.

Sleeping Beauty opens on Thursday, November 26 in the Braid Arts Centre and runs through to Saturday, November 28 with performances at 7.30pm each night and a Matinee performance on Saturday, November 28 at 1.30pm.

Tickets are £7 for Adults and £5 for Concessions and are available from the Braid Arts Centre Box Office now.