My love affair with acting and the theatre started at high school after my step-dad took me to drama club. I have never looked back since that day 10 years ago and cherish every moment that I have on stage.
Although I enjoy plays and theatre, I look forward to the panto season every year and get giddy with excitement at the prospect of taking part in another magical show. Pantomime is a British institution and an essential part of the holiday period for people to get together and have some fun. It can be time consuming, but panto offers the chance to give something back to the local community, which is extremely rewarding.
This year, as part of the Carlinghow Theatre Company, I will be playing the lead boy part in the fairy tale, Mother Goose, which is one of the oldest stories to be turned into pantomime. The amateur theatre company was established in 1924 and has a sparkling history of putting on musicals in aid of local charitable organisations and keeping the community entertained.
The story of the Mother Goose Pantomime differs from that of the well-told nursery rhymes. The pantomime is about Mother Goose herself, which is the part played by the Dame. Mother Goose befriends a magical Goose named Priscilla who can lay golden eggs. The story portrays the ensuing trials and tribulations after Mother Goose is tempted to exchange Priscilla, the magical goose for beauty. Amid the fun and chaos on stage, the pantomime has a strong moral – that beauty and wealth doesn't always bring you happiness.
The rehearsals, which began in October, take up three evenings a week and can often last over two and a half hours. This can be especially tough when you need to spend the next day auditing the finances of new clients.
However, the camaraderie of putting on a show and rehearsing together is brilliant and is an excellent remedy for the winter blues. With such talented directors, the scripts are squeezed full of jokes and fun. Most importantly, the ability to engage the audience is vital to generating a good rapportw. Last year was no exception with Sleeping Beauty, in which I played in the lead role.
I would recommend anyone to get involved in panto, whether as an actor, stagehand or costume designer – there is something for everyone. The current production has 12 principal parts, a chorus, dancers and a vast production team. With people from all walks of life, amateurs and professions, there is the opportunity to meet new people and learn something different.
All of our hard work this year will culminate in four shows from Friday January 14 to Sunday 16 at the Batley Town Hall.
For tickets ring 01924 324 501 or 07774 128 533 or book online at www.kirklees.gov.uk/townhalls