Panto Roadshow & Panto Prep!

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Going up the Beanstalk In Style! High Wycombe- The Swan 

The Pantomime Roadshow 2017

November 8th

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Grant Alvarez, Nigel Ellacott & Andrew Ryan

With the Pantomime Roadshow done and dusted for this season, thoughts turn to packing for Panto Proper. This year my costumes will be heading up for High Wycombe to The Swan Theatre, with Andrew Ryan’s heading for Nottingham and The Theatre Royal.

Dames who provide their own don’t travel light! My selection this year for Dame Trott comprises one packed costume rail (fifteen changes plus spares) two skips- one wigs one shoes, accessories, make-up, dressing room essentials- Kettle, furry blanket, Christmas Tree and balls.. plus assorted objects- Ice Cream Cones & Bean Cans which will be collected on November 13th, and be installed before we arrive to start rehearsals.

Each year the selection changes. The script might be totally new- Andrew is directing and appearing in “Beauty & The Beast”, or an adapation of the previous year- My “Jack & The Beanstalk” has some differences- 3D sequences, new scenes, that mean costumes are changed, or worked in a new order.

Chris Jarvis and I had a working lunch at the beautiful BAFTA building in London today to go through the requirements and changes for this year, and throughout the country Panto folk are starting to highlight scripts, learn scripts, and in some cases- like Newcastle Theatre Royal, start rehearsing the pantomime! Bonfire night hardly gone and Chris Hayward is rehearsing for “Dick Whittington” directed by Michael Harrison for Newcastle Theatre Royal.

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This year’s Pantomime Roadshow toured on behalf of several theatres. Two weeks in East London for the Kenneth More Theatre, promoting “Peter Pan”- ten shows a week with the Roadshow company of Andrew Ryan, Grant Alvarez and myself.

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Great feedback from Schools and Headteachers as always, and around 3,000 children a week getting to experience life backstage at The Pantomime as we deliver “Learning With Laughter!” Thanks to Steven Day for organising this year’s annual Roadshow.

KM Theatre’s Marc Seymour in “Peter Pan”

From London we headed to Basingstoke, engaged by the Anvil Arts and promoting another “Peter Pan” production presented by UK Productions. Thanks to Flis and the Anvil Marketing Department.

From Basingstoke we teamed up with Lee Redwood and “Sleeping Beauty”, promoting the pantomime around the Weymouth area for the Pavilion Theatre. Lee appears as Dame this year once again, and joined us on the Roadshow answering questions from the children on life as a Dame and Panto presenting.

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One lunch break we managed to soar to the dizzy heights of Portland Bill and take in the incredible view of the Dorset coast. Thanks for a great time in Weymouth and a superb tour of The Pavilion Theatre Lee!

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Portland Bill. Lee Redwood at The Pavilion.

From The South Coast to The North Wales Coast- driving to Llandudno for a week sailing with our third “Peter Pan”, for Venue Cymru. My second home this, I love the place, and we had a great week playing to 3,000 children once again. A particular treat hear is an annual visit to an assisted living complex entertaining the residents and visiting children. Thanks again to Karin Bruns and to Sarah Ecob for the opportunity.

The week was, as it always is, a food fest. There are no finer dining experiences than The “Albert”, “The Empire” and of course staying at “The Can Y Bae” as readers of previous blogs will know only too well.

My three panto posters at The Can Y Bae.     Up The Orme!

Great views from the Orme, and a side trip to the amazing PortMerion (known now as the setting for the Television cult series “The Prisoner”.) Everytime I visit I remember being there on tour with Theatr yr ymylon and The Welsh Drama Company in the 1970’s and having wonderful times.

The guest house (right) where Noel Coward wrote “Blithe Spirit”

So- Roadshow finished, Costumes awaiting collection. Andrew Ryan has a few more dates touring in the thriller “Mindgame” before starting rehearsals for Nottingham.

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Eastbourne & Swansea Grand before Panto

All that remains for me is to complete the costumes for Ilford’s “Peter Pan” over the next fortnight, and I will be joining Ashleigh, Sully, Simon and Chris for adventures in Wycombe. We rehearse on November 27th.

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The annual Panto Blog will start from that date and continue through into the New Year. For those rehearsing, or about to rehearse- see you on the other side!

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