This is the 6th panto Christian Patterson has written for Theatr Clwyd, with comic quips and quick wit they never disappoint. Ahead of this year’s production Sleeping Beauty The Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto, we sat down with Christian to find out more.
Sleeping Beauty rehearsals have started! When did you first start writing this year’s show?
Conversations about Sleeping Beauty started in October 2021 but they were mostly loose conversations about the panto title Theatr Clwyd might want to do. I’d say writing in earnest started early September 2022. I seem to start writing pantos earlier and earlier now, but it was particularly important with Sleeping Beauty because we all knew that moving from a “traditional” theatre to a Big Top was going to present all departments with a whole array of challenges that would need to be negotiated…in fact, here I am writing a whole new pre-opening! It’s all part of the panto package!
The show is taking place in a Big Top tent this year. Does this change the way you write the show?
Yes. I’d written my first draft of Sleeping Beauty and I was very happy with it…but then I had the opportunity to see a circus/play/musical in a Big Top and as soon as I left the show I knew I had to go back to the drawing board and be a bit braver. I supposed I realised that what I saw as the challenges for writing for a Big Top where actually opportunities and I didn’t want to miss out of that adventure/experience. I even wrote a new character…a none speaking character…I’m not telling you who/what it is…you’ll have to go see for yourselves!
There are many different versions of Sleeping Beauty, how do you decide which bits you’d like to keep and which elements you’d like to change?
Well pantomimes are morality tales really…good versus bad…and there’s always a lesson to be learnt from them…for example, Beauty & the Beast is the classic “Don’t judge a book by its cover” tale…so I always start by reading the original book to find the tone/moral of the story and keep that firmly at the heart of the panto…and once I’ve got that…I go wild!
What is it about panto that makes people come back year after year?
They are the ultimate family show! There’s something for everyone! Beautiful scenery, incredible costumes, great music, spectacular lighting, plenty of laughs, great characters, a chance to boo, hiss and get involved! It’s fun for all ages…whether you’re 4 or 104!
Do you have a favourite character in this year’s show?
I do…and it will be the same character in every year’s panto and I’ve not even written a word for them but they’ll know what to say and when to say it! My favourite character is…the audience! The audience is the character that can change a panto every single show! The show relies on their involvement and every single person on that stage knows it! YOU…yes YOU reading this…YOU are my favourite character so thank YOU for coming back time and time again!
What would you say to people who haven’t booked their tickets yet?
BOOK! GO BOOK NOW! Seriously…stop reading this and GO BOOK NOW! You won’t regret it! And thank you for your loyalty to Theatr Clwyd, to all involved in the show both on and off stage…and for coming back year after year!
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.