For the first time in its history Trinity Theatre is putting on a Christmas pantomime (oh yes it is!) Cinderella is currently running until New Year’s Eve and according to its Director, West End star Hywel Dowsell, it promises to be a fun and fast-paced show that everyone will enjoy as he tells Eileen Leahy…
It wouldn’t be Christmas for most of us if there wasn’t a trip to see the local pantomime and luckily we’ve always been spoilt for choice with some very good productions on offer. And this year, for the first time in its history, this will include a Trinity Theatre panto. The venue is currently putting on Cinderella, an all-time classic, that is running until December 31 at the popular arts venue on Church Road.
So why have they waited all this time to put one on I hear you cry? Well according to the show’s director, West End star Hywel Dowsell, it’s because Trinity’s new Chief Executive Nick Mowat listened to feedback when he took up the position and decided that this would be the year for things to change.
“Trinity has such a loyal audience and it was clear that this would be such a fun thing to do. Why put on something that’s not for everyone when you can put on a panto that will appeal to all? Everyone is buzzing and so excited to be a part of this new tradition at Trinity,” says Hywel whose usual day job is starring in Phantom of The Opera in London’s West End.
“Nick came to me with the idea as he and I have done panto together for years. He’s always produced and written and I’ve usually played the Dame or been the assistant director, but this year I have been given sole responsibility to direct and I am very excited to take over
Glittered with stars from London’s West End, Hywel adds that Trinity’s take on Cinderella is packed with lots of musical theatre numbers and pop songs and plenty of jokes to entertain the whole family as well as boasting a spectacular set and lots and lots of surprises…
The principal cast includes Natasha Hoeberigs as Cinderella, Jenna Boyd as her fairy godmother, Tom Blackmore as Prince Charming and Ben Sell and Thomas Hewitt as the Wicked Sisters.
“We really do have some brilliant West End stars coming to Tunbridge Wells,” says Hywel who has also starred in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and The Hound of the Baskervilles.
And he says that unlike most panto casts there isn’t a big celebrity name headlining: “We already have an amazing cast who are all West End stars and know exactly what they are doing so why would we go with someone who only gets on stage once a year when we can work with West End professionals?”
Hywel has extensive panto experience to draw on having been part of one ever since he graduated from the Guildford School of Acting. He was the Assistant Director and resident Panto Dame at the Capitol Horsham for a number of seasons, which is where he met Nick, and has also worked with Parkwood Productions as their Dame and Assistant Director at The Playhouse, Weston-super-Mare as well as The Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone. Hywel’s Pantomime credits to date include Aladdin, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Jack & The Beanstalk and Beauty & The Beast.
And what’s the secret of keeping such an old-time tale like Cinderella fresh and relevant for today’s panto audience?
“A lot of it is in the script. So there are lots of contemporary references and current affairs – not too much politics though – as well as references to celebrity culture and Tunbridge Wells. Nick and his co-writer have worked
very hard – often doing re-writes to ensure it stays fun.”
Hywel tells me that the choreography will be pretty special, too: “We have an amazing choreographer called Yamit Salazar who is a genius and has added a lot of flavour to proceedings.
“There are lots of routines for the audiences to enjoy. And as we all know Cinderella does go to the ball so there will be plenty of theatrical magic sprinkled in there, too.”
The pantomime finishes on New Year’s Eve but in the meantime there will be both matinee and evening performances, as well as school ones and also a number of audio-described, signed and captioned performances, too.
And what else is Hywel excited about? “Being a part of Trinity’s community and the fantastic work it does, but also to be a part of people’s Christmas – that’s an honour actually.”
Don’t miss your chance to see Cinderella, the magical pantomime at Trinity this Christmas. The clock is ticking, get your tickets to the ball now! Call the Box Office on 01892 678678 or
book online at: www.trinitytheatre.net