A right Royal performance
PUBLISHED: 17:06 27 October 2014 | UPDATED: 17:07 27 October 2014
Nicki Dixon previews a festive treat at Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal
The National Trust has more than 300 buildings and gardens in its care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is the only working theatre in the National Trust portfolio and is much loved by locals and visitors from further afield.
The building, nestled between town houses and the Greene King brewery, glances back to its Regency past, yet leaps forward to embrace performing arts students who are part of its future.
At this time of year there’s only one thing on everyone’s mind – pantomime! This season at the Theatre Royal from Friday November 28 to Sunday January 11, audiences will step into the world of Cinderella – glass slippers, handsome princes, ugly stepsisters and pumpkins.
Written by former Blue Peter presenter, Peter Duncan, this traditional family pantomime is the first one at the theatre directed by Karen Simpson who joined as director just over a year ago.
“I have directed Christmas shows for many years and personally it is very much part of my festive season,” she says. “It was strange not directing last year’s panto here, so I am really looking forward to starting rehearsals.
“We are actually well on the way with the preparation. The set and costumes have been designed and the musical director and I are in the process of deciding which songs we shall use.
“We cast the panto in June, as all the actors who can sing and dance are in demand so I like to try and get in early. In a couple of weeks we will also cast the young chorus and they will get extra rehearsals before we start with the full company.”
Karen said how much she enjoys this adaptation.
“I love this version of Cinderella by Peter Duncan. Peter is from a family of pantomime producers and he understands really well how the comedy and the action needs to fit together.
“This is going to be my first ever traditional pantomime and my first ever production for Theatre Royal so it is going to be really special.
“The set design is going to look beautiful on our stage and our cast are particularly talented so I can’t wait to get started!”
Peter is delighted his pantomime is being performed at the Theatre Royal.
“I’m very pleased my version of Cinders will be performed at the Theatre Royal, which I think is a perfect setting for the story, especially when we are in the Prince’s Palace.” he says.
“Pantomime is a time when most people visit a theatre and its traditions go back a long way. My parents used to produce and perform in them so I became attached to the genre at a very young age.
“I like nothing more than to see an audience of children and grown-ups laugh, shout at the actors and sometimes even wipe a tear from their eye all in the space of two and bit hours.”
For details and tickets call the box office on 01284 769505 or go to www.theatreroyal.org