Daniel Lloyd is a hugely familiar face to Theatr Clwyd audiences. Not only has he performed in 16 of the venues pantomimes, he has also been in productions of Little Shop of Horrors, The Hub, The Taming of The Shrew, Animal farm to name but a few. You may also have spotted him on TV shows like Brassic and Rownd a Rownd.
Off the stage Daniel is a hugely talented musician and director. This year he puts down his guitar and will be directing Sleeping Beauty alongside Francesca Goodridge. The pair are also the Associate Directors of Theatr Clwyd.
We sat down with Daniel to find out more:
In an interview back in 2021 you said you would like to direct the panto one day, and here you are! You must be very excited to be co-directing Sleeping Beauty this year?
Oh yes I am! I’m over the moon. I owe much of my adult working life to Theatr Clwyd and I have learned most of my craft here alongside some world class directors, actors, actor-musicians and creatives. Theatr Clwyd has always given me a shot. It’s a great place to work and I consider myself very lucky. I’ve soaked it all in over the years and to finally get my hands on the panto as a director really is a dream come true! I promise to take good care of it!
You have directed many productions and you were Associate Director last year for Robin Hood. Is directing panto very different to directing other shows?
Not really. I often think in musical terms when directing. It’s all about rhythm, tempo and dynamics. The pace of panto is like a rollicking rock ‘n roll song and my job is to piece all the beats and rhythm of it together. It’s a magic musical jigsaw with loads of fun elements and detail.
Panto needs to be larger than life so it’s obviously not like directing a naturalism play. You do however still need to find the truth in the characters and the rules of world they inhabit… veering from that, breaking the fourth wall and letting our audience in on the fun is a huge part of it but the foundation needs to be there in order to do that. If we get the storytelling right we can do what we want with the rest of it!
You have also performed in many pantos so know firsthand what it’s like to perform, does this help when you’re directing the show?
Definitely. I’ve triumphed and died a death on that stage many times – I feel that I know what works. It’s a great training ground for learning what lands with our audiences. It’s a very forgiving environment, though. If something goes wrong, you must embrace it, seize it as an opportunity and create a fun moment with it. As an actor, I’ve felt the pulse of the panto and know how thrilling it can be. I’ll still be chasing that buzz albeit from the other side of the auditorium.
For one year only the Rock ‘n’ Roll panto will take place in a big top tent, how does this change things?
In many ways it’s the same panto magic…but bigger, bouncier and bolder! We have a 900(?) seat auditorium with a great spot for every single audience member because of how the three-sided thrust stage works. I can’t promise that anyone can hide from our super-soaker water pistols but the seats will be comfy, the venue will be warm and the atmosphere will be electric.
Being in a different venue does also allow us to revisualize the design of our pantos in a new way which is really invigorating and Adrian Gee has done a fantastic job there.
You’ve performed in a previous version of Sleeping Beauty – what makes it such a great panto?
It’s a classic and its story is an easy one to follow. Plot wise there’s not much to it… Beauty pricks finger, falls asleep, gets kissed by a prince, wakes up and they live happy ever after. The brilliant Christian Patterson has tinkered with the classic story, its plot and its characters quite a lot (spoiler: there’s no Prince!) and with Adrian’s dazzling design I think we’ve got a fresh and fun retelling of the classic tale with a plenty of new twists and turns. Our brilliant MD Tayo takes care of the songs and we have it all to play for!
What would you say to those who haven’t bought a ticket yet?
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see our panto on this scale in a venue as unique as this. Do it now!
Tickets are selling fast for this year’s show with over 22,000 already booked, so don’t miss out, be quick and click here to book now.