It was nearly the final curtain for Pewsey’s annual panto when the lead actress was rushed to hospital for an emergency appendix operation.

Lucy Brown was due to play Jack in the company’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk when she was taken ill.

The 17-year-old, studying hairdressing at Wellington Academy, Tidworth, is recovering well and the panto will open as planned at the Bouverie Hall tomorrow with Lucy taking to the stage.

Lucy was taken to Great Western Hospital early on January 6 just ten days before opening night.

She said: “In June or July I had similar pains in my stomach but the doctors said it was just stomach ache.

“I hadn’t been feeling right for a few days and then on Sunday after rehearsals I started getting bad pains in my stomach but I thought they were hunger pains as I hadn’t had breakfast.

“Everyone at PVADS (Pewsey Vale Amateur Dramatic Society) has been really supportive.

“I’ve been part of it since I was 10 and it’s nice as we’re like a weird dysfunctional family.

“When I went to rehearsals they got me a chair and said if anyone saw me trying to do anything they’d get the handcuffs out and handcuff me to it.

“I’m looking forward to the panto. It’s my favourite time of year.”

Director Steve Clements said that emergency arrangements were necessary so the cast and technical crew could continue to perfect the show, with 15-year-old Ellie Smith, who plays Princess Primrose, taking on the role of Jack for rehearsals.

He said: “We prepare for all eventualities but we never saw this one coming.

“It’s the professional attitude of the cast and crew that have kept the show on schedule.

“I would like to thank Ellie and Evey [who played Princess Primrose in rehearsals] for making this possible and I pay tribute to Lucy for fighting back to full strength.”

There will be shows on Friday evening from 7.30pm, and on Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm for two successive weekends.

Tickets are available from, (01672) 810436 via text on 0777 531 2144 or from Bouverie Hall box office between 10am and noon on weekdays.