Cardiff New Theatre Memories

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Recent news was that HQ Theatres, a division of Qdos have taken a 25 year lease on The New Theatre Cardiff!. This beautiful 110 year old building seats around 1,144  and for twenty years has been the home of a Qdos pantomime.

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It was at “The New” that Peter Robbins and I had a wonderful season in “Cinderella” in 1990 with Windsor Davies and Dame Hilda Bracket (Patrick Fyffe) that transferred to Leeds Grand , and carried on through February.

As a Swansea lad my theatre jobs were in Cardiff from the 1970’s- I did plays at “The New” and childrens shows, including “Toad Of Toad Hall” , directed by Martin Williams, the manager who sadly died a young man, and left a legacy of splendid shows produced “in house” there. I worked at The Sherman Theatre, and The Open Air Theatre,The WNO Drama Company, and Chapter Arts, but it was the splendid New Theatre that was the jewel in Cardiff’s crown and at that time home of the Welsh National Opera.

The most recent Qdos Panto “Cinderella” finished on 12th January 2020.

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Here are just a few random posters of previous Pantomimes at Cardiff.

 

Recently the Facebook site “Pantoland” featured some photographs that Mike Chalmers took of past productions framed backstage and front of house at the Theatre. I am very grateful for his permission to repeat these snapshots here. Sadly the collection of “Finale” photos is incomplete, but hopefully more will be discovered an added as FOH is refurbished soon.

Here they are  – There are familiar faces I can spot, and I wonder how many you can recognise!I’ve just jotted a few names down from memory!Please feel free to add to the faces by email to info@its-behind-you.com should you wish!

Mike Doyle appears as Dame is very many of these Pantomimes, joining the local Dames and Sisters who played The New, including Wyn Calvin, Ceri DuPree, myself, (Nigel Ellacott) and adopted local Dames, like Ronne Coyles.

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Samantha Womack, Gareth Thomas, Chico, Mike Doyle, Tam Ryan, Stephanie Webber

2016

David Hasslehoff, Mike Doyle

2015

Gareth Thomas, Ian H Watkins, Linda Lusardi, Mike Doyle,Sam Kane, Mark Llewellyn Evans & Holly Bluett

2014

Lee Mead. Linda Lusardi, Gareth Thomas (and Colm Tracey u/s) Andy Jones, Mike Doyle, Sam Kane, Holly Bluett.

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Julian Clary, Mike Doyle

2012

Joe Pasquale. Ceri DuPree

2011

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Brian Conley, Dawson Chance, Brian Godfrey

2009

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Lesley Joseph

2006

John Barrowman

2005

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Danny La Rue & Dave Benson Phillips.

There is a gap of unframed pictures- here is 1984

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Stu Francis, Anna Karen

1983

1983 the hugely lavish Humpty Dumpty: Keith Harris, Ronne Coyles as Dame.

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1980 Dickie Henderson.

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Roy Hudd.

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The Stan Stennett Years- almost a repertory company of familiar faces.

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1973 Brian Rix, The King of Whitehall Farce.

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Harry Worth 1972

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takepART 2020 Venue Cymru

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I had the great pleasure of being a part of takepART last weekend at the vast Venue Cymru in Llandudno.  Just twelve days after finishing “Sleeping Beauty” there, it was a train journey back to once again become Myfanwy, Queen Of Deganwy!

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Queen Myfanwy with Lord Mostyn in the opening ceremony!

Wales’ largest Creative Arts and Science Festival is held each year in Venue Cymru. Every available space is used to house workshops, events, performances and places for kids from 0-18 to literally take part in creating or discovering something.

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A montage of just a few of the things on offer over two days.

The vast Arena was used to house a Roller Rink, The Welsh National Opera Tunnel Installation with interactive creatures from the Opera “The Cunning Little Vixen” popping up to greet you. Inside this massive space you could find Magic Light’s Puppet Theatre- Black light/UV Puppets not only demonstrated in a show, but there to be picked up and played with.

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Stuart Loughland, Nigel & Libby Edwards- The stars of The Colwyn Bay Pantomime are both Magic Light Productions and Safire- illusionists, plus good mates!

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Still within the Arena was Vertical Dancing, using ropes and harnesses to teach you to walk on walls, alongside Make a Mini Sea Monster, and a fascinating Gadget that when you colour in a fish on a piece of paper, it is scanned and comes to life in a 3D Aquarium! (I did this one twice- it really captured the artist in me!)

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The Pirate in this picture is Famous children’s illustrator Johnny Duddle- he of Harry Potter Fame, signing the books and running Workshops on Pirates and Dinosaurs!

Still in The Arena there was a large Performing Space, as well as many other workshops, a soft play area, and clog dancing.

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A popular area (certainly with me!) was the Therapy Dogs area. Bojangles the Terrier is the meeter and greeter for this organisation. The cartoon above is by Harry Venning. Harry is my favourite cartoonist. He created “Hamlet” in the “Stage Newspaper” each week. Its wicked and topical and, unlike the dogs here, biting! Harry ran his “Release Your Inner Cartoonist” workshops here on both days!

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Bojangles in the Therapy Dogs section Ground Floor.

My Royal Walk-abouts filled in a lot of the time- from 10am -5pm on Saturday and 10-4pm Sunday. In between visiting all areas, I compered the Take To The Stage Variety Show in the Theatre Auditorium (Where we did The “Sleeping Beauty” Pantomime.)

The show featured local talents- The Rock Project, The Pearl Shaw School of Performing Arts (Our Junior Dancers in both pantomimes here), Barton Dance & Drama Academy and amazing illusions from Safire, international Illusionists.

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Just a few of the hundreds of workshops and activities at takepART 2020. Aardman Model Making Workshops, Harry Potter Events, The Royal Ballet’s Workshops on “Alice In Wonderland”- Make up sessions with Zoe Ellen, Storytelling, Space Explorers and a whole vast room dedicated to Space, with Professor Planet- The list is endless!

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The Cutting Of The Ribbon!

Over these two packed days, this year 11,500 people- mainly young people took part! You can see the size of the building- here it is (as designed by Architect Aidan Ridyard, who held his Create A New Llandudno Workshops ). It is vast!

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Every space became a place to join in, explore, watch, take part throughout two full days- and all FREE OF CHARGE! The Conwy Arts Trust funds this two day explosion of education and activities and during the Panto we held collections for this. During the two days here contributions were gratefully received so that next year can continue from strength to strength.

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My personal highlight was being captured on paper by the incredibly talented Harry Venning- these two cartoons of me are taking pride of place!

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Harry Venning draws Queen Myfanwy!

There are many other events to mention, from Pobwyl Y Cwm’s stars – it is one of the longest running “Soaps” in the country, second to Coronation Street- meeting their fans, through to Take A Poem, Create A Puppet, (Punch and Judy appeared in the foyer courtesy of Magic Light Puppets), Game Developers Workshop, Weaving, Archeology, Origami, Singing Workshops, Lion King & Mary Poppins Workshops..Only Boys Aloud singing on the staircase, A Radio Station, A pack of Junior Reporters touring every hour, and Paul Sampson leading a Pap Pack of young photographers- A truly magical and amazing event.

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John Evans Returns to Venue Cymru Next Panto. Here is his Understudy!

So, a huge thank you to the Venue Cymru Team and staff and army of volunteers- To Keith for running the Variety Show in the Auditorium- Here he is mid show!

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Keith running the corner.

Finally a huge thank you to Theatre Manager Sarah Ecob. She and her team ran the two days like clockwork. If there was a gap it was filled. If there was a queue, it was lessened- Sarah and her team worked non stop to create this very speacial event. Thank you so much for allowing me to takepART!

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Backstage At Birmingham!

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The Birmingham Pantomime is still in full swing, and just over half way through!

Recently the Palladium finished its run, and there are a few Pantomimes running across the UK, and this spectacular production is going until February 2nd. With Palladium scenery and costumes and some fabulous effects, its well worth the trip if you’ve not seen it yet- lavish, spectacular and very very funny!

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Here, courtesy of photographer SIMON HADLEY and The Hippodrome is a glimpse of backstage during the run recently. Starting with Joe McElderry as The Spirit of The Mirror.

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Lesley Joseph prepares for her first entrance

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Lesley plays The Wicked Queen Dragonella.

The first version of “Snow White” at The Hippodrome was in 1975. It was an Aubrey Phillips touring panto with Charles Hawtrey as Muddles.It returned to the Hippodrome in 1977.  I replaced Charles Hawtrey when the show panto played the Rhyl Summer Season three months later!

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Andrew Ryan does a wig check ready to play Nanny Annie Asprin in his magic mirror.

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The Dame is ready to join the rest of the staff, Muddles and Lady In Waiting, Doreen.

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The next production of Snow White here was The Paul O’Grady version in 1999-2000. Paul O’Grady appeared as The Wicked Queen in the guise of Lily Savage. The Duchess Of Dudley, the wonderful Lizzie Wiggins played The Nurse.

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Waiting In The Wings! 

The next production of “Snow White” was in 2013-2014 when Matt Slack made his Hippodrome debut. This year will be Matt’s seventh consecutive Hippodrome Panto appearance on this the Hippo’s 120th year!

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Matt Slack appears as Muddles

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This year’s Qdos “Snow White” is Produced and Directed by Michael Harrison, The assistant Director is Tracy Lane. The Show is Choreographed by Alan Hardin, assisted by Sharon Harding. The Musical Director as always is Robert Willis- there is a six piece orchestra- Malcolm Garrett on drums has been in every pantomime at The Hippodrome for almost thirty years!

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Craig Garner gets ready to open the show, along with the rest of the “Magnificent Seven”, Josh Bennett, George Coppen, Greg Doherty, Simeon Dyer, Jamie John and Blake Lisle.

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Jamie having a laugh!

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The Ensemble at The Hippodrome are Stephen Alexander- I was in “Aladdin” at Venue Cymru with Stephen a few years back, he has recently been at The Moulin Rouge in Paris. Joining him are Aaron Barker, Joshua Cantrill, Charley Da Silva, Lucy Keenan, Lauren Key, Joseph Malana, Elysia Pemberton, Luke Redford and Laura Watson.

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Preparing for another routine, with gorgeous Palladium costumes.

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Grin and bear it!

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The  Evil Magic Spell is cast!

The Role of Prince Harry (hugely topical; at the moment of writing this!) is played by Jac Yarrow. Jac was recently starring at The London Palladium- his professional debut- as Joseph, alongside Jason Donovan. Jac is from Cardiff,, hailing from South Wales.

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Jac Yarrow as Prince Harry

Snow White often has a Dame, and sometimes the Dame is The Nurse. Here at the Hippo the Queen has a very lazy lady  in waiting- The first person ever to be diagnosed with Lazy Cow Syndrome- Doreen Tipton ! The Queen Of The Black Country Doreen sells out Theatres- a YouTube sensation, she will be touring her one woman show through the West Midlands- if she can be bothered!

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Doreen Tipton- the lazy lady in waiting

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The Finale

The Queen’s Guard are Flawless- one of the UK’s hottest dance acts, launched on Britain’s Got Talent- they even have their own school The Flawless Dance School headed by founder Marlon Warren. Flawless are Marlon Warren, Christian Alozie, Dominic Hutchinson, Toby Jackman, Jeffrey Felicisimo, Mike McNeish, Stefan Sinclair and Bradley Charles.

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Flawless!

The Title Role belongs to Faye Brookes– known to millions as Kate Connor in Coronation Street. No stranger to being a Princess, Faye has played Princess Jasmine in Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty and Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical!

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Faye Brookes watching from the wings

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Its behind you! Oh yes it is! No Panto is complete without The Ghost Gag!

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This stunning Pantomime is running until February 2nd and is one of the Fairest In The Land at this moment- twice daily at the Birmingham Hippodrome, lighting designed by Ben Cracknell, with Musical Supervision by Gary Hind, special effects by The Twins FX, and a sound design by Tom Marshall. The Wardrobe created by Qdos with speciality Costumes by Mike Coltman, and the projection design by Duncan McLean.

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The Fairest Panto In All The Land written by Alan McHugh and Matt Slack. 21st December 2019- 2nd February 2020.

A Postscript! This week Dame Andrew Made did a make-over on TV Chef  Glynn Purnell, as he swapped his kitchen for PantolandMatt Slack was at hand to teach Glynn some panto tongue twisters!

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Glynn commented “thanks to the honed skills of Andrew Ryan and Matt Slack, I have realised a dream of mine I never knew I had, to become Birmingham’s bearded Brummie Dame!”

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Andrew was invited to attend the make-over of the Bullring Bull- a twice life size bronze by Laurence Broderick, symbol (or symbull!) of the Bullring Centre. For a day it became a Panto Dame!

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The panto continues until February 2nd 2020.

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MICHAEL HARRISON’S 40th

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The Qdos extended family got together to wish Qdos Panto producer and Managing Director Michael Harrison a very Happy 40th Birthday! The Family affair began when guests arriving at the Ham Yard Hotel Soho were greeted by Michael and Kathryn Harrison and four year old son Alfie.

Bar Bowling Buffet cinema

The Party occupied a complete floor of this boutique hotel, with its own private bowling alley, two bars and a cinema! During the evening the cinema showed Pantomime of course, at its very finest, and the champagne flowed as we dined, wined, bowled and raised our glasses in a toast- made by Nigel Havers, Palladium stalwart that he is, to Michael’s 40th!

There are official and glossy photographs to be released, but for the time being, here are some pics from various phones!

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Kathryn Harrison, Brian Conley & Brian May (not a new double act.. yet) Ann-Marie Conley, Amy Potts and Anita Dobson

The Cabaret for the evening was the sensational Drifters- Michael Harrison will be presenting Beverley Knight as the star of a new musical about this iconic group. A treasured memory will be of Elaine C Smith and Imelda Staunton bopping away to “Under The Boardwalk” – a magical moment!

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Jess Knight,  Beverley Knight and Dan

 

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Panto stars, mates and Pals at the Party! 

Chris Hayward, Dan Russell,Lee Batty, Jess Knight, Paul Zerdin, Matt Slack

I spent a lovely evening catching up with Panto mates from way back. Great to chat to Paul and Linda Elliott, catch up with Brian and Ann-Marie Conley, with Alan Stewart, Andy Gra, Biggins and The Fabulous Jeanette & Ian (Tough) – The Krankies! These among many many folk I chatted to until the champagne took hold and I struggled to remember my name! Carriages (or Ubers as they now are) were at 2am.

The worlds of Musicals and Pantomimes were well represented, as well as creatives, choreographers, directors, producers, lighting designers, executive producers and theatre managers. Every aspect of the Biz that is Show was there to say “Happy Birthday”.

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Kathryn & Brian, Ann-Marie and another Brian!

Michael’s shows in the West End (and a good few Worldwide),have included Bodyguard ,Gypsy, Mrs Henderson Presents, Young Frankenstein, Fiddler On The Roof, Annie and Joseph at the London Palladium- returning next year.

The room had many of the casts and creatives from these shows. David Ian was among the guests tonight- David ( like Jonathan Kiley trod the Kenneth More Theatre boards in Panto, Once Upon A Time!) has co produced shows with Michael that include Sunset Boulevard and the recent Benidorm Live tour of the UK.

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Brian,Joe Pasquale and Gok Wan.

Gok was guest DJ tonight, Nigel Havers was speech maker, and the rest of the Palladium’s panto casts from the past few years were out in force- Julian Clary, Dawn French, Gary Wilmot, Paul Zerdin, Emma Williams to name but a few. This year of course it is the Qdos London Palladium production of “Goldilocks & The Three Bears” that takes the centre stage, presented by Qdos founder and Chairman Nick Thomas MBE.

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Mick and Sandra Thomas (joint owners of Qdos) were celebrating, along with a huge number of their Qdos Pantomime Family.

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Brian and Andrew Ryan. Nigel Havers gives the Birthday Toast!

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Dan, Anne Galbraith,Christine and Chris.

The champagne continued, the buffet was served (“The “T” in buffet is silent. Really? Not when I drink it…” apologies to Dan Leno for that gag) the bowling went apace, we heard the Drifters live and Gok’s discs were spinning- It really was a Swell Party- Thank you Michael Harrison and Happy Birthday!

Here’s a VERY rough guest list with dozens of omissions- from memory! Apologies to those I’ve missed out- there was a lot of Moet!- The list in absolutely no particular order!

Michael. Kathryn and Alfie Harrison

Nick & Sandra Thomas

Paul & Linda Elliott

David and Tracy Ian

Clive Webb and Ann,  Danny Adams and Amy Potts.

Phil Hoffman

Elaine  C Smith

GokWan

Joe Pasquale

Ed Curtis

Beverley Knight

Brian & Anne Marie Conley

Jeanette and Ian Tough

Imelda Staunton

Dawn French and Mark Bignell

Paul and Linda Elliott

Julian Clary & Ian Mackley

Christopher Biggins

Chris Hayward  and Dan Russell

Ceri DuPree

Annie Galbraith

Allan Stewart & Jayne Danielle

Nigel Ellacott

Andrew Ryan

Andy Grey

Grant Stott

Gareth Owen

Nigel Havers

Paul Bouchier

Martin Hinkins

David & Sallie McNeil

Darry Black and Stuart Griffith

Gary & Yvonne Hind

Marc SherWood

Jonathan Kiley

Gary Wilmot

Adam Renton

Phil Dale

John Bowles

Michael Gingell

Anne Smith

The Drifters

Matt slack – and Jess

Mark jones

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Anita Dobson and Brian May

Alan and Sharon Harding

David Ian and Tracie Laine

Jamie Taylor

Jake Hine

Paul Zerdin

Stillie Dee

Jason Donovan

Paul and Gary Twins

Innis Robertson

Jac Yarrow

Barry Burnett

Chris agent to Matt

Alan McHugh

Jordan Young

Steve Arnot

Emma Newton Williams and James Newton

 

 

 

Birmingham Panto Launch!

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Monday 16th September 2019

Today saw the Qdos “Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs” Pantomime launch at the Hippodrome Birmingham.

This is the London Palladium production with all the fabulous scenery, costumes and effects, and a stellar cast assembled for the run. It opens Saturday 21st December and runs through to Sunday 2nd February, two shows a day.

Producer and Director Michael Harrison together with Fiona Shaw, CEO and Artistic Director of the Hippodrome launched the panto today with an invited audience of Group Bookers and Friends of The Hippodrome attending events.Adrian LeSurf, Head of Marketing for Qdos was on hand to oversee the launch.

Meet The Cast!

Lesley Joseph returns to the Hippodrome to star as The Wicked Queen.

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Lesley Joseph enthroned at the Hippodrome.

Here’s an interview with Lesley from the launch:

Lesley first did Pantomime at The “Hippo” in 1991. This year she has been working non stop since finishing the run of “Young Frankenstein” in The West End, “Cinderella” at Bromley, and going straight into the tour of Calendar Girls, and overlapping into the tour of “Annie”. She will be enthroned at The Hippodrome for the six week season!

Matt Slack is a Hippodrome favourite. This will be his seventh consecutive Pantomime here in Birmingham. It was great to see Matt in the Summer when The Hippodrome Celebrated 125 years, and we enjoyed a full evening’s entertainment (and a great meal on stage) hosted by Matt. It has been seven years since Matt did his first appearance in “Snow White ” here at The Hippodrome- he is now a Hippo Regular!

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Matt Slack giving the Kiss Of Life a few centuries too late!

Here’s the launch interview with Matt on Celebrity Radio:

Playing the part of “The Spirit of the Mirror” is X Factor Winner Joe McElderry. Joe has spent most of this year starring in “Club Tropicana” the Musical playing Garry the Club Rep. It began touring in January in Bromley, and finished in Cardiff at the end of August. Joe is currently on his concert tour until rehearsals begin.

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Joe McElderry – Spirit of The Magic Mirror

Here’s Joe’s interview on Panto Launch Day:

The Title role is played by Coronation Street’s Faye Brookes. Faye is known for her role as Kate Connor in Coronation Street. She has toured with “Legally Blonde” The Musical as well as “Grease” and “Shrek”. Here’s Faye’s interview on the day:

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Faye Brookes- hopefuly not hungry right now!

The Queen Of The Black Country- self styled “Lazy Cow” Doreen Tipton is demoted to Lady In Waiting to the Wicked Queen this year at the Hippodrome. Youtube sensation Doreen leaves her daughters Trojan, Tangerine and Trollop behind in Wolverhampton tp join this year’s cast of “Snow White.

 

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Doreen Tipton- Midlands Icon!

Returning to the Birmingham Hippodrome for the fourth time as Dame is Andrew Ryan.

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Andrew Ryan plays Nanny Annie Asprin!

Andrew was here previously in “Dick Whittington” with John Barrowman and The Krankies, and before that in “Aladdin” with Marti Pellow and Julian Clary. Andrew appeared at the Hippodrome in “Robinson Crusoe” in 2012 with Brian Conley and Lesley Joseph. This is Andrew’s fifth Panto appearing with Lesley- Last year he Directed Lesley in “Cinderella” at Bromley.This is his Third panto with Matt Slack!

Here’s Andrew’s interview on Celebrity Radio along with Jac Yarrow in the studio.

Jac Yarrow arrived for today’s launch direct from winning the Joe Allen Best West End Debut Award for his role as Joseph in “Joseph and the amazing technicolor dreamcoat” at The London Palladium. Producer Michael Harrison selected Jac to play Joseph while he was still at Arts Educational School. He finished the run of Joseph (for THIS year!)at the Palladium just in time to graduate from Arts Ed.

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Jac Yarrow fresh from winning the Joe Allen Best West End Debut award for “Joseph”

Michael Harrison hosted the cast interviews in the Patrick Centre at the Hippodrome in front of an invited audience, with a lively Q&A session. Photocalls, press interviews and media moments organised by Adrian LeSurf, followed by an autograph signing and selfie session- A great day out at the Hippodrome!

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Joining the cast for the Pantomime season this year will be Flawless from Britain’s Got Talent, and of course, no Snow White Panto could be complete without the Seven Dwarfs and a full ensemble of singer/dancers to complete this epic production!

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Vicki Michelle- Only Once!

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An Evening with Vicki Michelle- “I will say this only once!”

Holborn Pizza Express Live Tuesday 17th September 2019

Vicki, interviewed by her daughter Louise Fowler gave a sold out crowd a Great night of fun and chat with clips from an amazing career- from early TV appearances in “Dixon Of Dock Green” and “Softly Softly” through Film and Stage roles ending with her long running success as Yvette Carte Blanche in “Allo Allo” from 1982 to 1992- a staggering 85 episodes still airing on TV channels today.

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The list of the great and good in both Comedy and Drama that Vicki has appeared with is staggering- from Ava Gardener, Laurence Olivier and Geilgud (Not forgetting Judy Dench!)Dame Joan Collins, Leoanard Rossiter, Dennis Waterman,  to the Giants of comedy Ken Dodd, Les Dawson and The Two Ronnies, with comedy sketches with Kenny Everett and Dick Emery thrown in for good measure!

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Vicki with Gorden Kaye

Vicki’s early stage career (guided by Aida Foster’s Agency- I was with Anita Foster’s agency way back too!) led to a West End run with Dudley Moore, and The West End was to see her in several musicals as well as the long running “Allo Allo” theatre shows at the London Palladium and The Prince Of Wales. The Stage version toured the UK and Australia, New Zealand.

Along the way we had clips from shows, from Pantomime- a very Wicked Queen in pantomimes- her next one will be at The Opera House York this Panto Season- and lots of anecdotes- prompted by Louise about the antics on the “Allo Allo” set!

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A great evening in the company of Vicki’s family- husband Graham was filming the show, and Sisters Anne & June with their family were there to support.

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Many chums from “Show Biz”were there to join in the fun. It was great to see Mark Curry- Andrew Ryan and I toured with Mark in “Billy Liar” a good few years ago, and I did Wimbledon Panto with him shortly after. Good to see Matt Pallant, a very talented musician with his family that includes John D Collins from “Allo Allo”.

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Patti Boulay was there celebrating her Anniversary, and lovely to catch up again with Linda Reagan and husband Brian Murphy. Linda is known as a best selling Thriller and crime novelist today, and for her long running appearances in “Heidi Hi!”, and Brian of course for “George & Mildred” and “Last Of The Summer Wine” – just a small selection from their joint careers in the West End and Television.

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Ben Stock & Helen Power

Francesca Gonshaw from “Allo Allo” was there, along with Avril Gaynor (Avril was in the very first play ever staged at the Kenneth More Theatre when it first opened!). Ben Stock was there-with Helen Power- Ben taking a break from his rehearsals of “Mame”- Thanks for the use of the show photos Ben!

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Among the Sold Out House was singer Rosemarie, Actress & Impressionist Debbie Arnold, and Dwina Murphy-Gibb, of the Robin Gibb charity for The  RAF Bomber Command Memorial- one of many charities Vicki is involved with- here are some of them:

President of Lady Taverner’s Regional Branch

President of The Heritage Foundation –London

Ambassador for Soldiering On Awards

Member of Grand Order of Lady Ratlings

Executive Committee Member of The Royal Variety Charity

Patron of The Gordon Craig Theatre

Patron of Blackfish Academy

Patron of Talent Time Stage School

Patron of The Dream Factory

Patron of Haven House Children’s Hospice

Patron of AA Dog Rescue

Patron of Essex Women’s Advisory Group

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Vicki received the MBE from The Queen in the 2010 honours list for her charity work.

The Evening ended with Vicki telling us about her appearances Emmerdale, and  in Ray Cooney’s farces ,including the long running “Run For Your Wife”, and in the “Don’t Dress For Dinner” farce (along with Mark Curry) and her journey from Essex into “The Jungle” to appear on “I’m A Celebrity, Get me Out Of Here!”.

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An incredible career- and a joy to hear it first hand from a very lovely lady – let’s hope she says this MORE than once and this show goes on the road to a town near you soon!

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Another Openin’- KMT PANTO an announcement from Anton Benson

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Anton Benson Productions- The Kenneth More Theatre Pantomime 2019/20

As the doors shut briefly on Ilford’s Kenneth More Theatre this week, there has been an announcement from Anton Benson Productions (https://www.antonbensonproductions.com/)  regarding the Pantomime at the Theatre.

For over forty four years there has been an annual family panto at the KMT. I’ve costumed about forty of them, and my brother Vivyan (Ellacott) has directed all of the pantos up to 2010.Steven Day Directed the Pantomimes from 2011 to 2018-19.

The Redbridge Theatre Company leaves the KMT this week, and Vision   https://visionrcl.org.uk/ will run the theatre from September 1st.

The Kenneth More will therefore continue with the Panto tradition which is great news- here’s the message from Anton Benson:

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We are thrilled to have been entrusted with the responsibility of continuing the long standing tradition of providing a family friendly high quality pantomime at the Kenneth More Theatre this Christmas.

The production will open on 14th December 2019 and run until 12th January 2020. In a change to Kenneth More panto tradition, it will feature star casting and we will be starting to announce headliners soon. Tickets will go on sale early September.

We look forward to welcoming customers old and new to an exciting new chapter of pantomime at Kenneth More Theatre

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Looking forward to seeing this “Sleeping Beauty” at the KMT in January when I’ve finished my Sleeping Beauty for Venue Cymru!