Why Sleeping Beauty is a dream to perform

Why Sleeping Beauty is a dream to perform
The Talentz production of Sleeping Beauty at the EM Forster Theatre

This week, the talented Tonbridge-based youth theatre troupe The Talentz is taking over the EM Forster Theatre with its production of Sleeping Beauty. The cast is made up of 40 local children aged between five and 21, all of whom boast varying experience.

“Our cast come from different schools across the area and it’s wonderful to see them working together,” says Company Director Debbie King.

This is the third year The Talentz has done a panto – they did Jack and The Beanstalk in 2018 and Aladdin in 2019 – and, as in previous years, they have employed the talent of Simon Sladen, the UK’s leading pantomime expert, who has written the script and overseen the proceedings in general.

“This year we were looking for something that would be a little bit different for our cast and audiences whilst still keeping that panto magic,” continues Debbie. “We actually create all our Talentz pantos from scratch!

“Simon has written them for us and we’ve also created our own musical arrangements, medleys and lyrics. This process ensures that each Talentz panto is truly tailored to our cast and audiences.

“For example, this year’s production of Sleeping Beauty is set in ‘Talentzia’ and has an amazing slumber medley at the end of act one, including the song ‘Ain’t No Mattress High Enough’,” she laughs.

As soon as the curtain is down on the last night of each panto, work starts immediately on the next – pretty impressive considering The Talentz puts on a number of other annual productions, too, including a March showcase, an April musical and an Edinburgh Fringe production.

But it’s not just on stage where all the action happens. The Talentz experience is an all-encompassing one for the children taking part.

“Backstage we work with a range of students who want to experience everything from make-up and stage management to lighting, costume design and creation,” explains Debbie.

She goes on to say that each production naturally comes with its own challenges, but that’s far from problematic: “That’s actually the great thing about working with such young performers. It’s so rewarding to see how they overcome each test and come out not only as stronger performers, but more confident, and then carry those things through to future productions
and auditions.”

Given that the EM Forster Theatre has been fully occupied by Wicked Productions’ Peter Pan pantomime for the past few months, The Talentz have been rehearsing at the TN2 Community Centre and are now very much looking forward to performing to audiences in the theatre, which is located at Tonbridge School.

What does Debbie think the audience will enjoy most about seeing The Talentz’ production of Sleeping Beauty?

“I really think that our full youth cast’s phenomenal hard work and talent will shine through.

“Lots of our principals from this production are working towards drama school auditions this year in order to progress their careers, and seeing their work onstage is incredible, but also seeing them working with our younger cast members really highlights what a family we create within Talentz.” 

They will be raising money for Fegans charity during the run of Sleeping Beauty, which is on this week from January 10-12. Tickets cost from £16 and there will be additional matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday.

For further information, visit emftheatre.com or thetalentz.com

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