Monday, 7 December 2009

The Cast are in the building

Well folks it's rehearsal time for the pantomime cast and what a great start to the first day.

It's tradition for theatre staff and the panto cast to have a get together over coffee on the first day of rehearsal and backstage it was a full Green Room of people shaking hands, saying hi and catching up on 12 months of theatre.

Lots of new faces in the chorus this year, and extra special for one who has come all the way from Australia to perform in her first pantomime. Tony Priestly, who looks after the panto costumes was as chatty and friendly as ever and Bob the MD looked really different with a beard! (Charity shaving coming on I think).

A big welcome for the brilliant Ria Jones (last seen here in Witches of Eastwick) who will play the role of Carabosse. She told me she remembers playing here 30 years ago as the Narrator in Joseph! It will be extra special for her this year as her brother Keri Dupree is playing the Dame so at least they won't be away from one another this Christmas. He tells me that all of his 22 costumes will live at the back of the stage during the run as his changes are so quick!

I caught Michael Harrison, fresh from directing at Newcastle, over a cup of coffee, looking very excited about the next few weeks. "I thought when I finished last week that was it - but then I had to catch my breath when I reminded myself I am directing the UK's biggest panto, am really looking forward to it!".

Next to Michael was Joe Pasquale who gave me a big hug. I have worked with him now about 5 times and its always great to welcome him back to the Hip, like me he's become part of the furniture. We couldn't believe it was 3 years since he did his last panto here - it's gone so quickly!
I said a brief hello to Ray Quinn who was busy chatting to our Sleeping Beauty Lucy Evans who looked really lovely with her new hair-do she'd been reading her script and couldn't wait to start rehearsal.

Stuart Griffiths our Chief Executive welcomed the cast and wished them well for a good stay in Birmingham. "We have over 50 years of panto tradition here and we are proud to welcome you all to the City" he said.

And with that the cast and Director made their way to the rehearsal studios.

Click here to view gallery of photos taken this morning.

Keep checking this blog for rehearsal updates.

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