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Boxing Day 2016

December 26, 2016


All over the country Panto folk got up at Dawn’s crack, and headed across country for theatres – despite there being no trains on Boxing Day, and the many sales starting that reduce traffic to a standstill- we all made it hopefully!

Boxing Day used to be THE opening day of every panto across the country. They would rehearse up until Christmas Eve, then open after the day off to play into March in some cases!

Today I was in Doggie Heaven! John brought along his chocolate Lab, Hamish! Hamish met Pudsey and Sullivan, and all three became pals over a snack of doggie treats. Ashleigh gave us an impromtu master class in training, teaching Hamish to twirl! It was so good to watch close up and personal, and to watch how Hamish learned a skill in return for a tasty treat- in my dressing room no less! Doggie Heaven!


Hamish The Chocolate Labrador

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Our Village is populated by the Ensemble and some very talented children from the Mayhew School of Dance here in Northampton- a School founded back in the 1940’s that saw children appearing at the Royal and later at The Derngate theatres in pantomime.

I asked a few of the Juves as we call them if they would jot down a few words about being in a pantomime. Here are some of their thoughts on this Boxing Day.

My Typical Day At Panto:  Isabel  Age Eight.

When I arrive at the Stage Door Chaperone takes us up to Dressing Room 14. It is very good doing Pantomime. Back Stage door does not actually lead to the stage. You have to through a few corridors to get to the stage.

My favourite costume is the finale. It is interesting seeing how all the men move the scenery. The Beanstalk is very clever, and other people are amazing like the people setting off bangs or the Wardrobe Department are amazing, organising the costumes at very short notice. It has been really cool to see how you set costumes.Also, next time you go and see a pantomime you know what goes on backstage.

Nieve aged Ten says:

We get a half hour call, a Quarter hour call, A five minute call and a beginners call. On our beginners call we head down to the Back Stage where the show will take place.

Back Stage isn’t just scenery, it is pretty fun most of the cast are backstage so they talk to us, which is nice. When the show starts a lady comes round and says Stand By. The First part of the show we stand in the wings waiting for our cue to go on stage.

During the interval we usually do colouring or read in our dessing room. Then when we get our five minute call we get changed ready for Act Two.Our costumes are quite nice. The fascinating thing is all our costumes have travelled around England.



Jasmine aged nine writes:

I woke up one morning knowing it was Saturday and in four hours I would be picked up to go to the pantomime. I love dancing in the Pantomime and this year I am a villager in Jack and The Beanstalk.

Backstage is not how you would imagine it.Its not all calm and easy. Its crazy! All the back cloths dropping down. Props everywhere. Scenery being moved on and off stage, and all the crowd thinks it is just a way to get on to the stage.

We do alternate days and have different show times. 1 and 5 and 2 and 7.Our costumes are red and gold dresses with a white doiley on our heads .At the end of the show we get changed into our Mayhew clothes and we get picked up to go home to a nice warm bed.Ready to come back in two days time.


And finally Lucie aged nine says:

We go inside the changing room to put our character shoes on. We usually do colouring, writing and reading for about 15 minutes. After we’ve got dressed we go down stairs to backstage and watch everything happening in the wings while listening to the music playing in the auditorium.At Christmas we usually have a green little elf on the shelf, which is put in different places in every scene change and it is really fun to find.My favourite thing to do in the changing room is writing stories and drawing pictures of nature. My favourite scene is the Northampton Market Scene. My At the end of the show we hang everything up, get everything together and then we go outside to find a large crowd of Mummies and Daddies.

jack-prod-5A lovely atmosphere backstage here at the Derngate this Boxing Day. Two very enjoyable shows too. Tomorrow two more at One and at Five o’Clock.


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