…on the road from 2nd December
Rehearsals began for York Theatre Royal’s Travelling Pantomime this week for the show which is planned to tour to every neighbourhood – all 21 wards – in York.
The Government Department of Culture, Media and Sport has confirmed that while entertainment venues must close from Thursday, theatre rehearsals can continue behind closed doors.
Chief Executive Tom Bird said:
We are delighted to welcome our fantastic cast to York Theatre Royal to begin rehearsals for our Travelling Pantomime. We have put Covid safety measures in place and will be carefully following Government guidelines over the weeks ahead but are thrilled that we can carry on with our plans to take our Pantomime out to the people of York this year.”
We are in conversation with 21 venues across our city and how and when we can visit them and will be announcing more about this in the days and weeks ahead. We also plan to film and broadcast the show, so be assured, one way or another York Theatre Royal’s Travelling Pantomime will be coming to you.”
York Theatre Royal’s Associate Director Juliet Forster directs the Travelling Pantomime, with Hannah Sibai as designer and Hayley Del Harrison as choreographer.
Musical director is James Harrison, who was musical supervisor/director for Evolution Productions Cinderella at Sheffield Lyceum Theatre last Christmas. That won him the Best Music prize at The Great British Pantomime Awards.
The cast of five includes several performers familiar to York Theatre Royal audiences. Robin Simpson (Dame Dolly) was last seen there in Northern Broadsides Much Ado About Nothing. Other YTR appearances include The Railway Children, The Wind in the Willows, Pinocchio and Pygmalion.
He has played Dame at the Lawrence Batley Theatre for the last three years. He’s also a storyteller and works in schools, libraries and museums all over the country, telling stories to children and adults alike.
The cast also includes York entertainer and magician Josh Benson (playing Josh). His previous credits include the BBC Morecambe and Wise biopic Eric and Ernie (playing Little Ernie) and the musical Calendar Girls in its world premiere production in Leeds and at London’s Phoenix Theatre.
Anna Soden (Fairy/Singing Captain) also appeared in a York Theatre Royal pantomime as a ten-year-old in 2006’s Cinderella. She graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in 2017 and recently appeared with Cosmic Collective Theatre in Heaven’s Gate in York Theatre Royal’s Pop Up Patio season.
Actor and writer Reuben Johnson (Fleshcreep / Ratticus Finch) was seen in the YTR production of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge last year.
Previous credits for Faye Campbell (Jack / Dick) include Peter Pan Reimagined (Birmingham Rep), NYT’s The Hole (Birmingham Old Rep) and Snow White. (Sixteenfeet Productions).
Audiences will have a say in which of three of the most popular pantomime titles they want to see – Dick Whittington, Jack and the Beanstalk or Snow White. Award-winning pantomime writer Paul Hendy is writing all the scripts and with the actors performing whichever show the audience choose on the night.
York Theatre Royal’s planned 2020/21 pantomime Cinderella has been postponed until next year.