Full Steam Ahead: Panto rehearsals have begun!

Published Tue 20th November, 2012 by Loughborough Town Hall

The stars of Dick Whittington are now hard at work in the rehearsal studio.

The rehearsals start two weeks before the show opens and it is not just the cast who are hard at work. Alongside the cast are the creative team, director, choreographer, lighting and sound designers alongside all the crew will be working on the production behind the scenes once it has opened such as the lighting operators, sounds operators, wardrobe staff, company manager and ASMs.

Steve Boden, director of this year’s pantomime says “I don’t think people always realise how much work and how many people are involved in putting on a show. It’s a massive exercise mounting a pantomime as everything needs to be coordinated to ensure all the elements of the show come together simultaneously in the latter stages of rehearsal. Before we even get into rehearsals work has been going for a number of months previously and once we begin rehearsals it all starts being pulled together and everyone works pretty much non-stop for the next two weeks to ensure we are ready for a spectacular opening performance.”

Charlie Guest who is playing Idle Jack says “I always look forward to the start of rehearsals. After months of anticipation it is great to be there when everything is being pulled together. There is a lot of pressure on everyone to make sure we are all ready in time but we all work as a team and have great fun. Although we have all learned our lines before we begin the rehearsals they only really start to come alive once we are all together, and of course things always get tweaked in rehearsal, the script may be altered or songs replaced if it we feel they don’t work in the way that was expected. Putting on a panto is a constantly evolving process that doesn’t stop until the curtain goes up on that first performance.

Most people would agree that one of the most demanding roles in pantomime is that of the pantomime dame. Martin Ballard who is playing Sarah the Cook explains a little about what the role involves. “Playing dame in panto is probably one of my favourite times of year but I am always completed exhausted by the end of the run. The dame is one of the key characters and spends a lot of time onstage. The costumes I get to wear are brilliant but they are usually large and heavy and I have to sing and dance and do some crazy slapstick routines in them so I need a lot of stamina to be able to get through 2, or sometimes 3, shows a day. Often I don’t have long between scenes and need to change costumes and as these are very complicated costumes it takes quite a bit of practice to be able to get in and out of them quick enough to be back on stage for my next scene!

To book tickets for Dick Whittington and more information see our panto pages

Last Updated, Tue 20th November 17:45

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