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Sat 5th Dec. Moving On!

December 5, 2015


Our final day in the Pimlico Rehearsal rooms. London. Here is the entire company, the photo taken by our lighting designer, Matt Eagland, who joined us for the run through. Only Lesley and Wendy missing. They are now in Llandudno arranging costumes at the Venue Cymru.


Matt Eagland

Started at ten, working through a few bits and pieces, and then Michael started the run through around 10.45am. Compared to yesterday it felt calmer! There is the feeling that you do know what scene might be next today!

This is the last time we get to run through without the added complications of putting the children in as Dwarfs- two teams of seven, and putting the children in as villagers- again two teams.

On Monday while we rehearse with the juveniles in a hall at Venue Cymru, Arthur and Michael will be going through some of the big effects, supplied by The Twins FX. Their creations range from Giants, Gorillas, Helicopters, Gigantic spiders, magic illusions and all things flying- from carpets, Motorbikes, cars and even Dinosaurs!

We did the run through and it flowed better than yesterday, in fact it flies past pretty quickly. There are a couple of bits we know we need to get firmly into the head- words in one scene in particular, for some reason four of us find it a tricky one to learn. We’ll get there!

We finished up around lunchtime, and everyone headed off home to pack. Most of us travel tomorrow (Sunday) ready to start in the theatre rehearsal space at 10am. Already the set is being put up, and we should be taking a look at it by Tuesday.

Shame to hear that the Christmas procession has been cancelled at Llandudno today, due to bad weather. Hurricane Desmond to blame I think, due to cause trouble in Scotland tomorrow I fear.

Some pantomimes are affected by the closure of the Forth Bridge, causing travel chaos. Hope it gets sorted soon.

Here’s a link to an interesting BBC item on Scottish panto (Aberdeen in particular) and a piece by Michael Harrison, head of Qdos Pantomimes.

Here’s the piece interviewing Michael:


At the other end of the scale in terms of size is Qdos pantomimes, which bills itself as the world’s largest pantomime producer. This year they have 24 shows across the UK from Aberdeen to Plymouth.

The business has three main sites: a head production office in London, a vast wardrobe store in Scarborough and a scenery store full of special effects, as well as individual items like Cinderella’s coach, beanstalks and giants.

This time of year is the culmination of the work which has been taking place throughout the year and it all happens in about a 10-week window.

Producing 24 shows at the same time is a big logistical effort. Qdos

“Imagine producing 24 musicals at once, imagine an opera company having 24 operas on at exactly the same time,” says Michael Harrison, managing director of Qdos pantomimes.

“People can be very snobby about pantomime, but the technical element and the creative element that goes into producing these shows is kind of unlike anything else that we do in the entertainment industry.”

The company’s productions move from location to location, although the final shows evolve and adapt depending on where they are being staged. But the fact that sets and costumes will have a long life onstage allows the company to recoup its investment.

Michael Harrison says he did not want to see pantomimes left behind.

Huge expense

“Long gone are the days when pantomime is a tatty backcloth, a funny little band and people coming on doing sketch comedy,” he says.

“So we tried to change the way pantomime was moving forward by really upping the ante in terms of scenery and special effects.

“I think these things are really important but they come obviously with a huge expense.”

 See you in Llandudno. The Blog continues from Monday!





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