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Thursday 10th Dec: Opening Day!

December 11, 2015



Thewalk to Venue Cymru was brisk, with a 9.30am call and two shows ahead. I could hear the schools audience arriving on the tannoy, and enjoyed the tradition here where one of the Front Of House gents acts as choral “warm Up” to the many schools sitting in the auditorium. He conducts them singing along to the Front Of House music being played- he points and the circle sing, then the stalls, the sides- an orchestrated party going on before curtain up. Amazing and joyful!


The “calm” I’ve mentioned in nearly every blog was apparent. Everyone in their own rooms, quietly getting on with make-up, glancing at the script, and generally preparing like the lull before the storm! I quietly put my make up on and got myself ready for the quarter call, when Irene arrived to get me into the opening costume- big checked number with a crinoline. That is the only time I’m in the dressing room for Act One. Every other change is done in the Quick Change Room Stage Left.


The door onto stage has Lisa at her Prompt Desk (The control centre) and the Foy Flying equipment next to her, with the Magic Mirror flown above. This is the one Robin was about to get in to for his debut flight- his very first journey into Pantoland!


As I crossed the stage the ensemble were sorting out the Pearl Shaw Juveniles into opening positions, and I finished off the costume with the wig and accessories in Quick Change. We don’t get nervous as such, I don’t think on a first show, but we all get concentrated and there is a fair bit of pacing and flexing! There had already been a vocal warm up for singers with Kelvin, and I had warmed up with a digestive and a cup of Typhoo.




Slight delay waiting on a late school to be seated, and we were off! The volume of cheering as the house lights went down was pretty deafening!

So- the new “Snow White” Venue Cymru Panto was born. Brought into the world to a packed house of school parties.

we did well. Yes, there were odd moments where some of us had a fleeting pause, the odd dry even, but the laughs came thick and fast and the children really got into the story. All the changes were made and all the sound cues, pyro effects, flying effects and scenic changes happened. Amazing to think three days ago the set was still in construction, and we were in a rehearsal room!



Arthur and Michael created this magic! All hail directors and choreographers who can create in a fortnight some Panto magic!

We had notes after the first show,some resetting of costumes, and I realised there was only twenty minutes to the next. That’s when you realise how tired you are! Straight back on to the opening scene, and as I sailed on to the stage I realised to my delight that there were pensioners. Lots of pensioners! Dames and comics LOVE pensioners! A chance to check out the gags, and have fun. John and I had fun! The routine we do with the camera was huge fun, picing on a gentleman teacher in charge of a large group of school children, and John’s “Girlfriend” Mavis!  Cooking with gas is the expression I belie

Tiredness leaves you. Panto is al about energy. Looking across at Robin on the stage, he was crackling with it, and obviously LOVING his panto debut. Ricky, Sarah also on their Panto debuts obviously loving every second, it kind of gave me hope and assurance for Panto’s future. Emma being booed and delighting in her villainy, the routines getting laughs, the incredible dance numbers and songs- yes, panto is safe and well._MG_6585


Later discovered Nick Thomas, head of Qdos was in to see this show, before heading to Hastings I think it was for a second pantomime today. I’m glad Nick saw this show,show two was slicker and so it will go on with each show.

Theatre Manager Sarah Ecob called in to the dressing room, she to had watched the shows, and had nice things to say- it will be one of many times she will be seeing the panto this season.



A note session to finish, with some tightening up, and a farewell to Michael and to Arthur. We had a wee Prosecco moment in the dressing rooms before leaving the building.


Tomorrow a day off. I have a radio interview for BBC Radio Wales at 11am,  which involves taking part in a quiz with Baron Hardup (AKA Phyl Harries) from Theatr Clwyd, but I can do that over the phone thankfully.


This evening the entire company were invited to the Can Y Bae by Dave and Michael. They are sponsoring the panto , and gave everyone a great evening, lots of food and a very jolly time is still being had by all as I type! Fortunately I dont have far to go to my bed!!


A great night- a fabulous panto cake in the style of our poster, and a lot of folk from Venue Cymru to chat to in a great atmosphere. Thanks Dave & Michael. Much appreciated. Diolch yn fawr iown!017








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One Comment
  1. Terry Powell permalink

    Nigel, I didn’t realise you were also playing the wicked Queen!!
    Have a great run!

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