It’s panto season!

Oh yes it is! As most of you know I am currently performing in Peter Pan at the Princes Theatre in Clacton-on-Sea, playing the roles of Mrs Darling/Darcy the Pirate and Persil the Mermaid. I am absolutely loving it and I’m having so much fun working for Polka Dot Pantomimes this year.

This is actually the first year I’ve performed in a static pantomime as I’m usually doing school tours. (I definitely don’t have the energy for those any more!) I am definitely enjoying it more than ever this year and we are very lucky to have such a wonderfully talented cast too. Every single one of the cast is an absolute delight to work with and we all get on very well! (Which is an absolute bonus)

We’ve also had the privilege to work with the wonderful Vikki Bussell who has choreographed for Polka Dot for years and the fabulous Sallie Warrington who has been our director for Peter Pan this year.

Panto is quite a controversial topic of conversation in the performance industry. Some performers have the opinion that panto is beneath them and that they would never do it, yet others absolutely thrive off performing in panto every year. I personally love panto and would always accept the opportunity to do it. I think it’s such a fabulous tradition and who doesn’t look forward to seeing a pantomime at Christmas time?! I actually read a really great tweet from actor Alan Mehdizadeh (@alanmehdizadeh) that said:

I hate comments from actors mocking or disregarding panto. Panto keeps many of our regional venues open. It accounts for around 20% of all UK theatre revenue, it’s fun, hard work and it’s often the first time kids experience the magic of theatre. Shut up, and respect your industry!

I am in complete agreement with him. At the end of the day panto is a great way to have fun, a barrel of laughs and it brings absolute joy to children from all areas.

We’ve had a couple of reviews so far on Trip Advisor from audience members from our first 3 shows and every single one has been utterly positive and complimentary. It’s such a great feeling knowing people are enjoying themselves. One woman even said that her son laughed so much he nearly wet himself!

The show opened on Saturday 8th December and is going very well so far. We’ve just had two lovely days off after working 12 days in a row and will resume the show tomorrow morning, when we will be greeted with a very packed audience full of School children – Lord help us all!

I must admit, staying in Clacton has been interesting and is definitely different to what I’m used to. Some of us are staying in a little hotel called The Langtry. It’s a bit Fawlty Towers but it does the job! The kitchen situation is a bit difficult though so low carb has gone a bit out of the window for now. We are sharing a small kitchen with limited cooking facilities with the rest of the residents within the hotel. We have 1 small fridge to share so we can’t really go mad buying fresh fruit and veg because there just isn’t the space to store it all. We also need to take food to the theatre which is easy to heat up or just eat cold between shows. I’ve been trying to eat a lot of soup because I can use the microwave at the theatre but it’s not the most sustainable amount of food when you’re working all day! We are lucky that our hotel is a 2 minute walk away from a Wetherspoons for an occasional meal there. However, I can’t afford to keep spending money out and being in spoons just leads to having a few glasses of wine… oops.

I always find that the old blood sugar goes on a bit of a rollercoaster ride whenever I’m performing. During a show my blood sugar is usually running a bit high due to adrenaline, but I can’t do anything about that! I am lucky that it’s been quite good the rest of the time though to balance that out. At least I’m not having any mid-show hypos! That would only lead to an absolute disaster I’m sure!

I have learnt that the majority of the cast have partners, parents and housemates who are type 1 diabetics too! So no one particularly bats an eyelid whenever I check my blood sugar or do an injection. Not that it would matter if they did, but it just makes me feel very at home knowing it’s not an issue for anyone.

We have 27 shows left to perform and also have Christmas Day and New Years Eve to look forward to. I’m actually heading up to Coventry to spend Christmas Day with Bobby and his family and then I will be driven back to Clacton for a 2pm show on Boxing Day. For New Years Eve the majority of us are staying in Clacton so we’ll definitely be having a night out here before we perform our final (probably slightly ropey) show on New Years Day!

If you want to buy tickets for the show then you can do here!

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