I recently got offered an opportunity to go to a press launch event for a Christmas Pantomime. When I was offered the chance I was delighted, and couldn’t refuse such an amazing opportunity.
The event was being held for one of my local Theatre’s version of the classic tale, Cinderella. It is this years Christmas Pantomime, where the cast interact with the audience and talk A LOT about Christmas. I mean who doesn’t love a Christmas Pantomime? Filled with Christmas cheer, holiday spirits and an indoor fireworks finale.
When I arrived at the venue, I was greeted by lovely staff and cast characters. It was a friendly and warm welcome, which is what I needed as I was feeling a bit anxious. The cast were dressed in full costume and they all looked lovely. I bet you’re wondering where the event was held? Amazingly the event was held on a boat! How cool is that?!
The boat was called ‘The Kentish Lady’. It has an outside decking area and a large indoor room. The boat is a canal boat and is used for short hour long trips along the river, it also runs longer round trips of the local river. I have been on the boat before, but I don’t remember much of the trip as it was a few years ago.
On board the boat, Wagamamas served food and a local gin distillery was serving gin and tonics. The food was lovely and tasted amazing! By the way I didn’t drink the gin as I’m too young!
There were many cast members who are well known and friendly Celebrities. The cast members are Stefan Booth (Prince Charming), Rustie Lee (The Fairy Godmother), Adam Borzone and Stephen Richards (The Ugly Sister Of No Mercy), Craig Anderson (Buttons) and Elizabeth Bright (Cinderella). All the Actors and Actresses were so lovely and kind to me, and loved hearing about what I want to pursue as my future career. They all wished me well in my future, and they also let me ask them a few questions about their career.
At the very beginning of the event, there was a small Q&A for the cast members. Someone asked how they felt about Theatres not getting much funding any more. The cast replied by saying that they want children to be able to experience the magic of the Pantomime as it is often their first introduction to Shows. It can also encourage them to get involved with performing themselves. The Cast said that they love seeing the audience interact with them. They also said it means a lot to them how people are still coming to the theatre, to watch pantomimes and plays. I thought this was a lovely thing for the cast to say. For them to care about the audience is just a lovely thing to do.
Rustie was telling us about the first time she was in a Pantomime on stage. She said her three year old son was in the audience, and loved seeing his mum on stage. Just before she was about to sing, her son yelled “That’s my mummy!”. This made us all laugh, and smile.
The views and scenery on the boat were very beautiful, and it was such a lovely sunny day. I think we all felt in the Christmas spirit, as the cast yelled “Merry Christmas!” when the boat docked in.
The characters that Adam Borzone and Stephen Richards play are called the Sisters of No Mercy. They wore colourful dresses, and very tall hats. They also wore very bright and colourful wigs, which they adjusted from time to time. Whilst on the boat, the boys struggled to walk around as the boat had a low ceiling. Luckily the boat did have small raised windows in the ceilings, so the boys were able to stand under them without having to bend their backs awkwardly.
An interesting thing that I found out, was that some of the cast hand-make their costumes. They also re-use old costumes instead of buying or remaking new one’s. I found it really interesting and useful to know, that they care about reusing and recycling. There are up to ten costume changes per show which one of the Ugly sisters of No Mercy said is tiring but great fun as they all represent a different part of Christmas.
One of the other things that I found interesting, is that some of the cast wanted to be Actors and Actresses since they were little. When I was talking to Craig, he was saying he started acting lessons when he was five and continued until the age of sixteen.
I asked Elizabeth when do they start rehearsals? She told me they only start rehearsing one week before the actual show! I got a bit shocked as I thought they would start very soon. She did say that the children who star in the show as well, start rehearsals in a few week’s. There are eight teams of Children as they can only work restricted hours. I told her I remember going to acting lessons, and remember the stress of rehearsals. I even asked her ‘if she had a Fairy Godmother, what would be her wish?’. She replied with “I will have to go with world peace. As it’s something that can help everyone.”.
The whole day was amazing and I can’t wait for more opportunities like this. Thank you to the Hazlitt Theatre for letting me come to your amazing event! Also thank you to Natasha for giving me your space, I loved it!
Well that’s it for now, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it.
Bye for now!