A long time ago in a Pantomime far, far away... 10:00 am, the start time for all our current, first weekday school shows, however this Thurs 14th December Baron Hardup had thrown caution to the fatigue wind... for at one minute past the midnight hour I was sat in prime position at Cineworld, Didsbury ready to rumble & vibrate in my D-box chair with 3D specs firmly attached to face to get the brand new Star Wars movie "The Last Jedi" in my eyes!!! The film itself was a triumph, I laughed many times & I cried even more (much like our Cinderella audiences do at my steller performance!) as the nostalgia & my child-adult love for these instalments swept over me like a MOIST, warm... erm... flannel. SO began the journey back to my digs in Lytham... I made the jump to light speed in my reliable vessel or in reality kept to the legal limit of 70mph in my old Fiesta 2005 & left the lion share of the soggy, dark M6 behind... but tragedy struck! the M55; my only means of direct motorway to my humble accommodation was blocked off diverting me to LANCASTER!!! My journey to the Darkside was quick & instantaneous... 20 miles in the wrong direction & back, I was then further bamboozled in my red mist raged journey as I was sent through Fulwood & Preston to the back route A583. I finally got back to base at 5:00am eventually resting in the knowledge that my alarm would be kicking off its rather tedious noise routine in a mere 90 minutes. However like most of the cast rolling in like a giddy BB-8 an hour early to get suitably hydrated & to raid "treat corner" for the newest daily sweet or savoury vice... I was there!!! red eyed & bushy faced (...as I have a beard...) to bring joy to the masses.... The force was definitely (like the 4 coffees I imbibed) strong in all our performances this day as we put many more beaming smiles on many young faces! Kivan Dene/Baron Hardup
15th December 2017admin
Another day and two more shows! Great shows too! Today’s audiences were incredibly lively which is of course what we like and what we have come to expect. It’s still early days for Green Team but the dancers have fitted seamlessly into the show. The cast have had a few friends, colleagues and family in to see the show in the last few days who have all been amazed at what we have achieved in a theatre of this size. They’ve all said that the time flies by like a wave of the Fairy Godmother’s wand and they all thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. I had a lovely conversation with some of the very hardworking volunteers who continue to do a stalwart job of keeping all things Front-of-house running smoothly. Firstly, they didn’t recognise me from my panto alter ego (contouring, giant eyelashes and heels are an excellent disguise!) but also they are proclaiming this Cinderella as the best panto yet! They also stated that the school in today Lammack Primary School had done such a fantastic job of clearing up all their rubbish after the show and had been fantastically polite to all the staff at the theatre… Well, you’ve still got plenty of time to see for yourself if course, with lots of performances through till 4th January! Come along and join the fun!
14th December 2017admin
You join us today after we have just had our last day off until Christmas Day! We all certainly made the most of it!! I helped out Santa by delivering some pressies for him, Gertrude and Dandini took the 'baking scene' to a new level by taking some tips from Cinderella and provided us with some delicious treats today that has replenished our 'food table' and will keep us going this coming week! Baron hard up celebrated his birthday with a drink or two, and fairy godmother braved the cold with a visit to the Christmas markets! Everyone came back today raring to go and we had two amazing audiences with Lammack primary this morning and Griffin Park primary this afternoon. Even with the icy conditions, there was no panic as we were informed both schools were in their seats, warmed up and ready to go on time (and if we hadn't been told that we could definitely hear it!) They were both incredible audiences, joining in with every song and shouting out through the show! They especially took a shine to the ugly sisters dates for the ball... so much so, he was returned minus an arm! (It will all make sense when you see it!) Another great day and I can't believe it's already the 12th! As I opened door number 12 on my advent calendar this morning, here is the joke that greeted me... 'What do sheep say at Christmas...?' 'Merry Christmas to Ewe...' I know what you're thinking ... 'Where can I hear more jokes just like this and better??' The answer is at the Thwaites Empire Theatre production of Cinderella of course!! Don't miss out...see you soon! Stacey (AKA Prince Charming)
12th December 2017admin
If you could have seen inside the walls of the Thwaites Empire theatre tonight you’d have seen a very special performance as Cinderella’s mice put the new dance team through their paces in time for tomorrow mornings performance. There was much scurrying and scampering as children of all sizes listened attentively to Jessica Mouse as she led the rehearsals. Father Mouse watched from a distance nodding approvingly as fairies (Some no bigger than the mice themselves) danced with confident flourishes of their wands creating an altogether magical spectacle. But this was just the start! By the end of the evening all the dancers left the theatre with great big smiles on their faces knowing what a treat was in store for the audiences over the coming days. And as the show producer switched out the lights he said goodnight and thank you to our three wonderful mice who had retired for the night after making a lovely cozy home for themselves on stage. It might have been minus 5 degrees out on the streets in Blackburn tonight but we can all sleep comforted in the thought that Cinderella’s mice are safe and warm in the Thwaites Empire Theatre until the end of the Pantomime season when I’ve heard they have a holiday booked in the sun. Why not visit the Thwaites Empire Theatre in Ewood just to say hello to our mice!
12th December 2017admin
Well, another Sunday is upon us and far from being the ‘day of rest’, for those of us in panto world the entertaining carries on. 2 rip roaring performances from the entire team greeted 2 very different audiences. The afternoon show saw a near full house of families, cubs, scouts, brownies and Blackburn Rovers supporters eagerly devouring various confectionary (available at reasonable prices from the bar) whipped up into a frenzy by the pumping dance numbers. They all joined in in the right places and even a couple of wrong places and made a very enjoyable show for both us and themselves. As soon as the show came down, the cast scaled the rather spooky flight of stairs (access only for the professionals) at the side of the theatre to greet a very excited group of children who had organised to meet us all and have some photos and pick up selection boxes from Santa. Some of our cast then went as fast as their cars, and the speed limit allowed, to the local public house to watch the Manchester derby. With both United and City fans in our ranks, the rest of us waited with baited breath to see if they returned as friends… They did, but something tells me after a home loss to City, the United contingent may take some time to get back to normal. The evening show had a smaller, more select, audience of mainly adults, but no less childlike in their participation. It’s good to remind yourself as a performer that this style of show is just as enjoyable for adults. The laughs come thick and fast in this production so get your tickets now without delay or risk being turned into a pumpkin. Callum AKA Buttons!
11th December 2017admin
After another eventful week in Pantoland we opened to a friendly family audience this afternoon. It was so lovely to see all the little girls dressed as Cinderella, we definitely encourage fancy dress for our miniature audience members – super cute! I’m having such a lovely time with this wonderful cast. The show is getting a brilliant reaction from all of our audiences and we are having so much fun on stage. In between shows today we all went out for a cast meal to celebrate the lovely Kivan’s birthday… Happy Birthday for Monday Kivan! We have another two shows tomorrow and then a well deserved day off on Monday. A day off where will all be hunting for our secret santa gifts. If you haven’t already please don’t hesitate to book your tickets! There really is something for everyone in this show and that is evident from the great feedback we have received from audiences of all ages. Eva McKenna AKA Cinderella
10th December 2017admin
By golly gosh what a day! The whole crew certainly had the Friday feeling today and managed to pump out three cracking performances that were much loved from three very different audiences. Just goes to show that no matter what age, there’s a plethora on engaging and entertaining material to be enjoyed by all. To be fair it was no surprise that we were all on a high after the wonderful winter wonderland at Ewood park the night before. A great night was enjoyed by all and no doubt certainly edged a few of the ‘Do you fancy the panto this year’folk into becoming ‘We need to get tickets’ bunch! Honestly, without at all being biased. If you’ve not yet grabbed yourself some tickets then you’re missing out on a high quality performance for all the family with not only regards to the acting but the technical team and equipment that have all worked hand in hand to create a truly remarkable pantomime experience. All the best, Rhys Gadeke AKA Flossy wossy!
9th December 2017admin
Well it was a busy day for the Cinderella cast yesterday. (Friday 8th December) We started our day as normal performing to shows to some very lively and fun schools. After a quick bite to eat we then headed over to Ewood park to perform a few numbers for there winter wonderland event. The ugly sisters flirted with the football players, buttons had a bash in the drums and the cast lead the audience in the 12 days of Christmas. A great (chilly!) evening was had by all and after warming up and feeling our toes again it was time for home and bed before 3 shows today!
8th December 2017admin
It was a night to remember for the thousands of Rovers fans who attended Winter Wonderland on Thursday evening at Ewood Park. Fans mingled with the stars, with the Rovers first team and manager Tony Mowbray in attendance for the event. The action-packed event got under way at 4pm, with a mini-fairground, trampolines, an inflatable goal shoot-out challenge and a visit from Santa Claus himself among the main attractions. There was plenty of food and drink stalls, with hog roast, burgers and hot dogs, as well as popcorn, candy floss and mulled wine all enjoyed by the supporters. Activites began on a sizeable stage, which was hosted by the Thwaites Theatre cast of Cinderella. The Rovers players took to the stage to sing Merry Christmas Everyone prior to performances from a brass band, as well as Blackburn Cathedral choir and school choirs. Britain’s Got Talent star Ella Shaw also performed on the night, which ended with a spectacular fireworks display. It was all for good causes, too, with the proceeds split between Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, Child Action North West and Life on the Edge.
7th December 2017admin
Twas the 6th of December & all through the theatre not a creature was stirring… which was worrying cos it was 10 am & our full audience were missing!!! Was their coach impeded in Accrington by a herd of trainee reindeer? Was an oversized red sled being seen to by the RAC? broke down on the A666 near Ewood halting the flow of early morning traffic? Who knows? What we did know is there was a Pantomime cast primed & ready for performance & a juvenile dance school with limbs warmed up on the fringe of a temperature turn… Luckily the (hardly!) crisis was averted swiftly! Our full house arrived when the clock struck five past; a minor glitch, of which this particular merry band of coffee fuelled thespians were used to dealing with…. It just meant one final vocal exercise, one more check of placed pops or to be more truthful given the copious amounts of Christmas munchies in the girls dressing room, one final thrust of human claw to the large Cadbury’s Heroes packet (or in my case a small handful of the ridiculously moreish sweet chilli Pringles (seriously they’re epic!) Anyway our soon to be youthful, excitable &… on the move/coat removing: to feel later benefit! spectators were thrust into their seats with military precision & mongoose speed under the direction of their cat like reflexed teachers & the Thwaites Empire front of house staff… THUS! the curtain was finally allowed to be raised! Sooooo… On our sixth day of Panto my true love (theatre…Ooo & Star Wars too, but that’s not applicable here) gave to them, a show of pace, laughs & enerrrrgyyyyyy!!!… & the afternoon show was tight like a sun tanned tiger too! Yours Kivan Dene/Baron Hardup… wordsmith, poet, creative writer…
6th December 2017admin
Greetings from Pantoland! We’re in our first full week with a lot of shows to do, and a huge number of people to entertain. If anything, the ooos and aaahs are getting bigger by the day, particularly for our….. well you’ll have to come to the show yourself to see! We are really getting into the swing of things. As a cast, we are all astounded at how much we pack into this year’s production. We sing and dance in many styles to songs old and new and as the news gets around, our special effects will be the envy of every pantomime in the north west! Our juvenile chorus continue to do a brilliant job, and our little fairies really brought the “aaahhh factor” this afternoon with lovely reactions from Blackburn Central High School. I should say thank you to all the chaperones too who are supervising the juveniles and getting them to and from the stage with great aplomb! So if you’re thinking about coming to see us, think no more! Book your tickets now before the clock strikes midnight! Come to the most magical Cinderella you’ve ever seen!!! Ian Fox, Gertrude
5th December 2017admin
Well the weekend is over! We came in to our first Monday of shows and it started with a bang! We have all had a much needed day off, each making the most of it. Baron Hard Up and The Fairy Godmother worked magic decorating their trees, I took a royal visit to a Christmas fair, Cinderella tried out the Christmas markets and Dandini even made a trip to see the big man himself! We all came back in refreshed and raring to go. We were greeted with two amazing audiences and the day flew by! We are now starting to feel like a well oiled machine, with quick changes not seeming quite so quick! The audience today especially loved the song choices, singing along to each one (making our job easier) I’m sure the rest of the week will follow suit getting even better as we go along! Hope to see you all here soon! Stacey, Prince Charming
4th December 2017admin
So finally the clock has ticked down and Cinderella has opened with a bang. A full theatre of screaming children and a smattering of teachers were the lucky recipients of our opening 10am extravaganza. It went up on time and the curtains opened to a very new feel to a Pendle panto, three beautiful mice starting off the story that we all know and love. As the show progressed you would never know the mania back stage to make the magic happen, it’s astonishing that no one missed a cue or lost an eye (as I nearly did in last night’s dress rehearsal!) It’s exactly what the show needed, the final piece of the puzzle, the all important audience. It makes all the hard work and late nights worthwhile. Now we are all like coiled springs waiting for our first public show, the third show of the day, and we can all be assured that by the end of the day we will be a well oiled Cinderella machine ready for the remaining 61 performances Callum Arnott, Buttons
2nd December 2017admin
Well, what can I say except the opening performances of Cinderella have been quite exceptional. This morning’s performance was a full house with Lower Darwen Primary School raising the rafters from the first second the fairy and Mice arrived right the way through till the last cymbal crash of the finale. They were such a fantastic audience that some of the cast even asked if we could have them back for a repeat performance. The lighting design completed over many late night hours by Ryan is some of the most inventive and brilliant pantomime lighting that I have seen in many years, along with some very skillful sound design and mixing by Kris the in house technical manager. In fact I have to say after all the venues we play each year I was so grateful to say here we go again boys. Tickets are selling fast and you are urged top buy early as some of the performances are already sold out. With all the beautiful costumes by Alice and Pat …. The incredible large scale effects built by Craig and set by Derek this is going to be the hot ticket of the winter season. My hat goes off to all the team, The juveniles, The dance teachers and of course the cast who are quite brilliant. PS Miss this show and you’ll miss out on how great this Christmas can be. Tim Lince, Director
1st December 2017admin
And that is that… We have welcomed our first three juvenile teams who have done a brilliant job, and we are all set to run the show with an audience!!!! (Wow, scary thought). Today, was spent ironing out any last technical glitches and make sure all our quick costume changes worked – and they did! Hooray!!! Wow – seeing the show up and running, with costume, lights and magic tricks included, honestly gave me goose bumps! Every single member of the audience is in for a treat! We’re all off home now for a good night’s sleep before tomorrow’s three show day but I’d just like to say; break a leg to all cast, crew and juvenile’s, we are set to give a jaw-dropping performance!!! All my love, Danielle, Dandini
30th November 2017admin
What a whirlwind of a week! This is my fifth day in the rehearsal room after joining the cast on Saturday and the days have just flown by. We’ve all been working extremely hard and in just two days time we open the show. Over the past few days we have been working on perfecting some of the amazing special effects that we have in the show – I can’t say too much, but the end of act one is going to be truly magical. Some of the effects have been quite challenging and it’s been so nice to have the rest of the cast be so supportive whilst I’ve been trying them out. Tonight we have our first dress run and although I’m feeling quite nervous, I’m also really excited. Fingers crossed all the quick changes run smoothly! Two more sleeps till we open and I know we are all so excited to share this fantastic show with you. The show has come so far over such a small space of time and things can only get better! ‘Cinderella’ has always been my favourite pantomime and I’m honestly thrilled to be playing her! Lots of Love, Eva McKenna, Cinders
29th November 2017admin
Greetings panto folk! Today can only be described by.. It was great! It started with a Hi mate…This will come to make sense. In all seriousness we did indeed start with a dance call and our final dance was set! ‘Hurrah’ I hear you cry.. Well we certainly did! We then spent the day running the show again and again whilst adding elements of costume and tech. Slowly but surely it’s starting to take quite the miraculous shape. You know it’s going to be a good one when you still get chills after seeing it time and time again. Early evening consisted of our first time working with the juveniles which only cemented our view that this is going to be a cracking show! The majority of the cast finished the day by heading out for a lovely well deserved meal. Rhys Gadeke, Flossy
28th November 2017admin
Wow what a full fun day! Our 5th day of rehearsals started with our first full run through. Only a few hiccups but overall for our first go through it wasn’t bad at all. After a quick lunch it was into a second run through. This went a lot smoother even if there was a little interruption with a suspected gas leak! False alarm don’t worry. And we got straight back to it after we had the all clear! It was then onto finishing a few dance numbers before my little fairies came to join me for some fairy dancing. Well how fabulous they were! They all worked really hard and were so patient when waiting for their turn. Thank you my little fairies! 🙂 All in all a very busy and productive day. By the looks of things we’ve got one brilliant show on our hands! Kate McHenry, Fairy Godmother
27th November 2017admin
The winter weather has done nothing to dampen all of our spirits as we arrived for day three of rehearsals for Cinderella. Before starting, we waved off our friends as they start the tour of Aladdin who will be keeping the pantomime flag flying on the road. Today we have a full-on day of blocking and choreography but the most important event is that our beautiful Cinderella has joined us straight off another busy tour! Welcome to the family Eva! Unfortunately, your sisters have to be mean to you straight away! There are more ballet classes later, with us having to progress from yesterday’s beginners level straight to advanced (Rhys’ and my legs are just about holding us up after yesterday’s intensive choreo sessions) and I believe we would be considered Swan Level 2! Well, we’re into Act Two now with lots of dances still left to perfect! It’s going to be a good one and we can’t wait to show you! Early in his career, Ian Fox appeared in the opera Noye’s Fludde, sung in a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, toured Germany and Holland and then had his 13th birthday! After all that, the hard work started and he continued to perform in many concerts and appeared in his first musical playing Lord Brockhurst in The Boyfriendand his first Shakespeare role playing Malvolio in Twelfth Night. He did a little bit more musical theatre, appearing in amateur productions of The Music Man and Carousel at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham. Ian studied Music and Voice at Exeter University and whilst there appeared as Arvide in Guys & Dolls, Samuel in Pirates of Penzance (and directed the production) and sang in and endless round of concerts all over the UK. Luck was on his side and as he finished his studies he secured roles in Sweeney Todd and West Side Story at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. After this, he appeared in the premiere production of Nosferatu the Vampire (Royal Hippodrome, Eastbourne) then produced and directed the same show on Merseyside this time playing the title role, played Nicely-Nicely in Guys & Dolls and sang in Musicals – Past, Present & Future in the West End. A strange chain of events saw him performing on the island of Menorca at a holiday centre for a few months, recording three songs for Eurovision and touring major venues the UK as the Dog Catcher in Pound Puppies and the Secret Treasure Map. Ian now lives in Lancashire has been working for theatre company Pendle Productions on and off (mostly on) since 1996 in some 25 two-handed productions and various pantomimes. Most recently he has been enjoying playing pantomime dame and has been an Ugly Sister in Cinderella, Sarah the Cook in Dick Whittington, Widow Twanky in Aladdin, Tilly Trott in Jack & the Beanstalk and is about to play Dame Salubria Fatima in Sinbad. He is part of the directing team and assists with day to day running of the company. He still performs in numerous concerts ...
26th November 2017admin
Well what a second day of rehearsals.. Daughters and Daddy dancing, Buttons dropping a rap, a ballet with a twist and finishing with legless women (it will all make sense on the night 😉) For me it started with a warm brew and line runs, whilst the boys took on dance routine after dance routine.. They’ve got the dancing down… Now just to sing at the same time!😉 The first group number was choreographed…but as I’m still waiting on my princess I get to sit (or stand😉) this one out! Never have you seen such beautiful four swans as rehearsed today. Seeing such an great cast working today we are definitely in store for an amazing show! Stacey Trained at ‘The Brian Timoney Actors Studio’ in London, followed by ‘The Hull Actors Studio’ in Los Angeles. Theatre Credits include ‘Two’, ‘Closer’, ‘Chess Pieces’, ‘If I Were You’, ‘Game of Souls’. Stacey has had another busy and exciting year continuing to work for ‘The Storytellers’ which has included performances at Blackburn Thwaites Empire Theatre and a summer season of outdoor theatre of well known stories such as ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Peter Pan’. As well as filming numerous short films and advertisements this year, Stacey has starred in feature film, ‘Polterheist’, that is due to be released next year. She has also this year been lucky enough to be involved with ‘The Bradford Literature Festival’ and acted in some of the original pieces written for it. Stacey is very excited to have just been in cast in two plays touring the UK in the new year, ‘Whitechapel Freaks’ and ‘The Talking Dead’. Stacey Coleman
25th November 2017admin
So it’s day 1 of rehearsals of the panto spectacular Cinderella, it’s an 8 day countdown to opening night and we’ve started at the beginning with the mouse family dancing around the stage. It feels like I’m the only one not involved in this very new start to a pantomime, until I was given the duty of drawing the curtain at the very start which is clearly the most important job. We will just have keep the audience waiting a little longer to get their first glimpse of me (good things come to those… and all that) So I just got on my feet for the first time this panto season and it seems once I’m on, I’m barely off. All going to plan so far and nice to meet new faces joining the company this year, as well as old faces (Stacey’s for instance.) 😜 Everyone get their watches out and join in the countdown to the Cinderella spectacular. Callum Arnott, Buttons
24th November 2017admin
8 weeks of juvenile rehearsals are complete! I have had a fabulous time working alongside 6 local dance schools, choreographing 18 musical numbers. I had no idea how many dances we had done until I counting them up just then. 18 dances in 8 weeks, WOW! (I think that needs it’s own little round of applause, don’t you?). All 6 teams have worked so very hard, and after Christmas they can all take a well deserved break (haha – still a few more weeks to go guys). I could go on for days about how impressed I have been with the standard of talent these young people have to show, but you don’t need to read about it, come and see it for yourself in the professional production of Cinderella at the Thwaites Empire Theatre from Dec 1 – Jan 4th. I currently have pre-rehearsal jitters, that’s jitters of nervousness and ALOT of excitement, as we start cast rehearsals today! With how the jaw-dropping the show already looks, I am literally set on the edge of my seat wondering what magic and wonder the next 8 days will bring! Danielle Edwards, Juvenile Choreographer
23rd November 2017admin
Tickets are available online here