Santa’s Naughty Elf is retiring

Published: 6 November 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Wayne Miller as Elfluent, the naughty elf
Elfluent (Wayne Miller) receives a trophy to celebrate 10 years of Santa's Naughty Elf from Dame Bella Ballcock (Ray Spencer)

The naughty elf Elfluent, who has been the centre of the Customs House, South Shields, panto for the under-7s, is to retire after this year’s show.

His creator, Wayne Miller who plays Elfluent as well as writing and directing the shows, will step down after this year’s production, The Naughty Elves and the Shoemaker, the eleventh in the series.

“I really wanted to get to the 10-year mark and last year was really special,” Miller said, “but now’s the time to say goodbye to Elfluent and let the next generation of panto performers elevate our little panto to the next level.

Santa’s Naughty Elf has meant so much to me as a performer, as a writer and as a person. It has become so personal and the reason for that is our audiences—they come back every year and make us a part of their Christmas tradition. You feel like part of their family.

“It has been great to see the kids grow up with Elfuent, who himself has grown up over the course of the 10 years. At the beginning, he was just out to ruin Christmas, now he ruins Christmas by accident and unintentionally.

“He’s still mischievous, but he’s got a conscience now and he tries to fix it.”

The ‘little panto for little ones’ was devised by The Customs House Executive Director Ray Spencer in 2009 to complement the annual panto, with the aim of making the festive tradition more accessible to the youngest children and their families.

The Naughty Elves and the Shoemaker, which also stars Sean Kenney, Jen Stevens and Katie Reed, runs from 30 November to 24 December 2019 (various times).