Juggling life as a Musical Theatre actress on tour where life off the stage is even more hectic than when I’m on stage doing a show every night. The never ending lists and choreographic plans and emails, press releases and rehearsal schedules can be pretty daunting, but thrilling and never ever dull!
“There is no business like show business” and what an amazing rollercoaster ride I’m having! I’m currently in the interval of one of matinee performances whilst the show (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) has played at the Birmingham Hippodrome over the past 2 weeks and am just taking the 15 minutes the cast have off stage to catch up on my Jermin Productions workload before the next crazy instalment of our family production company and the seasonal Pantomimes we produce to make my schedule even more hectic. Yes I may look like a crazy lady, one minute as a Sweet Factory worker a face full of make up, next is dressing up as a Vulgaian Peasant, my laptop camouflaged amongst hair pins, makeup brushes and eyelash glue on my dressing room table but this and has been my normality for the past few months on tour.
I guess you could say juggling a side line business in the form of a production company whilst performing in a show that is on tour and travelling up and down the country, is ambitious?!
But I genuinely love my time both in front and behind the curtain and always want to be doing something creative and stage related… working nonstop and prioritising (just sometimes) writing scripts or proposals or schedules over sleep is just a little hump in the road to get over!
At present in “ JP Pantomime Land” we are finalising the complete drafts of our Pantomime scripts… This year there has been 2 to conceive and write, as this year, our company has 2 Pantomime productions going out: 1 is our main full scale production, which this year is Dick Whittington, a new title for the company which is pretty exciting which will open right here in Carmarthen to kick off the Seasonal Pantomime tour. We are also thrilled to be returning to Bluestone Resort Wales this Winter with a condensed version of the Arabian tale Aladdin. Before travelling to Birmingham this week, I spent a few days at the Aladdin Cast photo shoot on site at the resort, helping to get the cast into costume and character ahead of them getting in front of the camera and giving it full out Panto-tastic performances.
With 2 productions, 2 stories to tell, 2 casts to manage and inspire, it is of course double the workload, but I’m so excited about both productions. The tour of Chitty has a few weeks off in November meaning that its perfect timing for me to spend some quality time in literally my Panto land of South Wales to set both productions up.
Oooooh I’d better put my laptop away; the female ensemble have just had the call to stage for the biggest dance numbers in the show. Next it is time to shimmy and salsa ahead of the “Bombie Samba” number which is a really joy to perform as it’s a fast fun frenzy of movement. I feel so lucky to have worked with such inspiring choreographers including Stephen Mear (who has choreographed Chitty and a creative that I always dreamed of working with from following his amazing work and past productions) as their routines, steps and styles are always brilliant to perform.
This week also in Pantomime land South Wales saw us hold the first of our Dance Auditions inviting children and young dancers to try out to be in our Dick Whittington Production. I always try and make these sessions as fun as possible as from my experience being a performer I know exactly how scary and nerve wracking auditioning can be! The pressure of getting the routine correct, and worrying about what the panel thinks.. Goodness I’ve been there so many times and I swear it never gets easier! So I really like to try and make each person auditioning feel as comfortable as possible and try and make the choreography as fun and fluid so that they can really excel and enjoy dancing it… just as I am so lucky in getting the pleasure of doing night after night in Chitty. Being able to take inspiration from the professional world of theatre and put ideas into our own Pantomime productions is a real highlight for Mark and I, and we can’t wait to show you what is in store with this year’s Dick Whittington at 4 South Wales Theatres!