It’s show time! The curtain is set to rise on this year’s panto at The Customs House this week and rehearsals are in full swing.
More than 25,000 tickets have already been snapped up for Snow White, which is looking to break the audience record set last year by Beauty and the Beast, which was seen by more than 29,000 people.
And while the finishing touches are being put to this year’s production, next year’s panto has also been announced. Tickets for Rapunzel go on sale on Thursday, November 28 – the date The Customs House officially celebrates its 25th anniversary.
Snow White was the first panto to be performed at The Customs House when it opened in 1994 and is being brought back for the first time as part of the anniversary celebrations.
Ray Spencer, Executive Director of The Customs House, who co-writes the panto with Graeme Thompson and also directs and stars as Dame Bella, is looking forward to tackling the story for the first time in his 45 years of doing panto.
Ray said: “I am very pleased with how the pantomime rehearsals are going. Everyone is working so hard, both in the cast and behind the scenes, to make our 25th anniversary show the most memorable yet.”
The rest of the cast are Davey Hopper as Arbuthnot, Annie Guy as Snow White, Dale Jewittas Prince of the North, Steven Lee Hamilton as the Evil Queen, Bethan Amber as the Mirror and Charlie Raine and Luke Maddison as skunks Sniffy and Whiffy.
Steven said: “We are all parts of a machine and for that machine to run smoothly, we all have to work together as a team.
“A three show day can be a hard slog nearing the end of the week, however you will get the same energy and performance standard. You need each other for that – the audience should never be robbed of a performance!
“I tend to go into panto mode when we start and cut back on social events or ‘real life’ for a bit. Christmas is a busy time, but the performance must always take priority.”
Luke added: “Going into a professional panto environment should never be underestimated, least of all a Customs House panto.
“The work and enthusiasm to knock out 75 shows over Christmas is no small feat, but it’s the way in which The Customs House goes about its business that makes me fall in love with it. Mind, it’s going to be hot in that skunk suit!”
Snow White, sponsored by Hays Travel, runs from Wednesday, November 27, until Sunday, January 5, 2020. Performance times vary. Tickets, priced from £9.99, are available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at www.customshouse.co.uk.
Rapunzel will run from Wednesday, November 25, 2020, to Sunday, January 3, 2021