Panto Babes eschew lie-in to bag part in Cinderella at Reading’s Hexagon theatre

THEY were queuing out of the block, hoping that they would be transformed not from mice into horses, but young dancers into panto babes. 

On Sunday, July 28, more than 100 youngsters eschewed their lie-in to take part in the open auditions for The Hexagon’s annual pantomime Cinderella. 

The show may be several months away, but the children’s thoughts were very firmly on Christmas as they coveted a role in the junior ensembles for the Hexagon’s festive show. 

The dancers were put through their paces by Louise Redmond, from show producers Imagine Theatre, who taught them a routine designed to test their all-round dancing ability. After an initial cut around half the children were recalled for the afternoon session in which the routine was extended before the final cut was made and 24 children selected for the three main teams as well as a team of reserves.

Each team of eight children will attend all rehearsals and then perform in a third of the performances alongside the professional cast, including children’s television megastar Justin Fletcher.

Louise said: “The standard of the children was phenomenal. It was great to see so many talented children turning up to audition and it was such a shame we couldn’t take them all.

“Getting to perform in a professional panto is a great opportunity for the members of our Junior Ensemble as they get to see exactly how professional theatre works and to experience performing in front of audiences of over 1,000 people.

“It is a lot of hard work but also a lot of fun.”  

Cinderella, which also stars Paul Morse, will be at the Reading theatre from Saturday, December 7 through to Sunday, January 5. 

Tickets are already on sale. 

For full details call the box office on 0118 960 6060 or log on to www.readingarts.com

Phil Creighton

Editor of The Wokingham Paper, and has worked in local journalism for more than 20 years including the Wokingham Times, Bracknell Standard and Reading Evening Post. He's also written for computer magazines, The Baptist Times and, to his delight and probably not yours, interviewed several Doctor Whos.

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