Woodford Pantomime gearing up for Cinderella extravaganza
PUBLISHED: 15:00 21 December 2014
Â© Graham Widger
Every New Year the festive season officially ends with the closing performances of pantomimes, with the cast taking their final bows and putting away their glittering costumes for another 12 months.
But while the community faces a long wait for the fun to return, the cycle has already begun whirring again for organisers.
Dawn Young has been working on the Woodford Pantomime’s production of Cinderella since last year’s show Sleeping Beauty finished, which sold out 97 per cent of its tickets.
The cast, who auditioned in the summer, are still busy rehearsing for their stint of 17 performances in January.
Director Dawn, 54, said: “There is always such a buzz by the end of it and then we carry over for the next one. It just seems to get bigger and bigger every year.
“Cinderella is quite an extravagant pantomime. It is the 90th anniversary of the Woodford Operatic and Dramatic Society this year, which we are a part of, and so we thought we would make it a big one.”
The show, which marks Dawn’s third year as director, features 37 cast members and then the crew, such as the front of house and technical teams.
The teaching assistant, who works at Forest School, Snaresbrook, said: “There are masses of people involved. Many of our cast members are younger people who get their mums and dads in to help; showing people to their seats and working backstage.
“We are a big family, which is what makes it such a special pantomime; everyone who is involved wants to come back the year after.
“We set quite a high standard. People say it is an amateur company, but it is a big production with professional costumes and special effects.
“We pride ourselves on being a family show.”
The production will follow the traditional story of Cinderella, featuring much-loved characters such as panto favourite Buttons, but there will also be a few surprises, such as an extra scene where the characters visit a health spa.
The auditions were not without a few tough decisions.
Dawn said: “It was quite difficult this year. A lot of people auditioned for Cinderella, but the girl we chose, Olivia Pooley, was born for the part.
“She is amazing and the two Ugly Sisters, Pat Enright and Richard Sheepwash, are just going to steal the show.
“It is all going really well and the songs are coming out brilliantly. We try to keep things upbeat and have current songs as well as ‘60s music.
“We don’t write our own songs as we like to have things people are familiar with, not something new.”
Before having daughters Bonnie, 23, a chorus and committee member, and Fern, 18, Dawn enjoyed being on the other side of the curtain.
“I did 10 shows with the Woodford Pantomime before having my children. I played three fairies and also a good cat in Dick Whittington.
“Four or five years ago I was a fairy again and then I was asked to be the assistant director and that’s how I got back involved.”
Despite enjoying the whirlwind of being director, Dawn plans to take a break next year.
She said: “I’m hoping to go and volunteer as a teaching assistant at a school in Zambia. I have a friend there and know some people who have a charity.
“I would like to do some things outside of panto, which does take up the whole summer.
“But I know I will be involved in some way.”
Cinderella will run from January 2 to 18 at Sir James Hawkey Hall, in Broomhill Road, Woodford Green.
To book tickets, call 01992 524462 or visit woodfordpantomime.co.uk.
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