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Queen of Resorts- Llandudno!

December 3, 2013

A very comfortable journey from Euston to Llandudno Junction on Sunday evening. It took about three and a half hours in all to reach the promenade and my lovely digs! The view in the morning when drawing the curtains is amazing- the whole sweep of “The Queen Of Resorts”, from Big Orme to Little Orme, and I can actually see Venue Cymru from my window!

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Rehearsals this morning were in the Town Hall- as the get-in at the theatre continues. Went for a refresher wander in the town before my call, and sitting in a cafe saw a familiar face from my last visit- Craig Ryder! Craig had been in Panto along the coast two years ago, and lives in Llandudno,  and hails from Llanrwst . He’s just completed a movie- time for a quick chat before heading into the Town Hall.

Everyone had arrived, and we started to incorporate the juveniles into the scenes. They are from the Pearl Shaw Academy, and we have two troupes of eight. I believe a second team is doing the Dick Whittington Panto up the road in Colwyn Bay, presented by Venue Cymru.

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We ran the Ballroom scene- my main involvement in working with the children. I have a number here called “At The Palace”, and the villager scenes and the musical numbers. The hall here is quite grand, with a gallery,  and it is a Victorian Gem- like most of Llandudno. My Hotel on the front dates from the 1860’s!

Received a really lovely greeting from Freddie Lees wishing us well in Llandudno. Freddie enjoyed the “Aladdin” blog from two years ago, and visited this resort for a holiday recently, staying with David and Michael in the Hotel.

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Brendan and Birthday Girl Lisa

This town has three theatres standing, but only one operating. Venue Cymru is built on the site of the old Arcadia Theatre, a popular Summer Season venue I recall from being in variety shows in the seventies (the nineteen seventies in case you were wondering!) and next door was The Grand Theatre. That became a nightclub and now stands empty, its circle and stage area intact just waiting for a visit. I will try VERY hard to arrange one if it is at all possible and report back. The final theatre is the Palladium, now a pub. Weatherspoons have loving preserved the circle and it still retains posters and artifacts from its Cine Variety days.

Afternoon was spent going over set routines- The Mirror, The Ballet and the Sweets Routine, followed by The Wall routine and setting the finale numbers. Tomorrow we will look at The Twelve Days Of  Christmas routine with the props- you can see them here on our temporary props table in the Town Hall.

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From here Vicky, Lisa (Lynch) and I set off along the prom- the only people on the seafront, and stopped off at the Hotel to join our hosts Dave & Michael for a drink, joined by almost everyone else by mid evening. Our first social of the season! Mr Lane and I dined at one of my favourite gastro pubs here “The Albert”. Many a roast dinner was enjoyed here a few years ago with Tim Morgan and the “Aladdin” Company.

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Tomorrow is Lisa Briddon’s Birthday! Happy Birthday Lisa , in fact Penblwydd Hapus iawn!  Its great to be working on your birthday! In this business its simply great to be working. I’ll be working in February on my Birthday (at Brick Lane Panto) and looking forward to that. We’ll be raising a glass to Lisa tomorrow I’m sure!

Call tomorrow to run scenes. I have a couple on newspaper interviews to do. A recent spate of items about Pantomime traditions have stirred interest in Panto, and I’ve had several enquiries to chat about “Tradition”- Here’s a link to one or two newspaper items. Some were triggered off by a new book that has just been published- “A History Of Pantomime” by Maureen Hughes. Maureen has very kindly made me “Cover Girl” for this book, and it includes a piece about the Pantomime Roadshow and IBY references.

The History Of Pantomime is available on Amazon as “The Pocket Guide To Pantomimes” by Maureen Hughes priced at between £7.99 and £12.99 paperback released on 30th November 2013

Simon Sladen released some facts about pantomimes to the press, and some of these have been taken up.The Daily Mail yesterday asked “Is this the end of the Pantomime Dame?”- take a look at The Daily Mail online at dailymail.co.uk

The Telegraph also ran a feature on the demise of the Principal Boy played by a girl. Interesting read, but nothing we don’t already cover here. Still ANY interest in panto is great- it proves it is alive and kicking and very well all over the UK thank you!

Questions I am being asked is if I think the role of Panto Dame is in danger, and if certain subjects like Puss In Boots or Mother Goose are endangered titles. A debate I think that has been going on for about a century, and I’ll have to prepare my answers!

 

 

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