Pan­tomime hope­fuls tak­ing CEN­TRE STAGE

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

CHRISTMAS has come early this year for a group of tal­ented Coven­try kids with the news they’ll be star­ring in the Bel­grade The­atre’s hugely pop­u­lar Christmas pan­tomime.

On Sun­day, Septem­ber 2, al­most 200 hope­ful young­sters de­scended on the the­atre to au­di­tion for a part in the ju­nior cho­rus of Sleep­ing Beauty, which opens on Novem­ber 21.

Crowds be­gan as­sem­bling as early as 8.10am, with one ea­ger group of teens ar­riv­ing bright and early to beat the queues. By the time the doors opened at 9.30am, the line was stretch­ing right around the block, to the very end of the row of shops on Cor­po­ra­tion Street. One of the first to ar­rive was Emily, who has per­formed in the show be­fore, and who this year brought along a group of friends to au­di­tion for the first time.

“I per­suaded them all to come be­cause I loved it,” she laughed. “I loved per­form­ing with all the pro­fes­sional ac­tors – they were just amaz­ing!”

Over the course of the morn­ing, starry-eyed kids aged nine to 16 were di­vided into groups to learn a rou­tine from the show’s chore­og­ra­pher, which they were asked to per­form in front of a panel in­clud­ing writer, di­rec­tor and Dame Iain Lauch­lan. In the af­ter­noon, se­lected chil­dren were re­called for fur­ther au­di­tions be­fore suc­cess­ful per­form­ers were split into teams. In be­tween au­di­tions, the the­atre’s foyer was a hive of ac­tiv­ity, with ea­ger chil­dren warm­ing up, stretch­ing and prac­tis­ing the steps they’d been taught. But with only 32 spa­ces avail­able in total - in­clud­ing three ro­tat­ing groups of eight plus an ad­di­tional group of re­serves – the show’s cre­atives had some tough de­ci­sions to make.

Iain Lauch­lan said: “Ju­nior cho­rus au­di­tion day is al­ways one of the hard­est days of the year for us – ex­haust­ing, up­lift­ing and awein­spir­ing in equal mea­sure. Many of the chil­dren and their par­ents spent the whole day at the the­atre and we have seen al­most 200 chil­dren for Sleep­ing Beauty this year.

“We watched so many fan­tas­tic young peo­ple who re­ally put their heart and soul into the au­di­tions, and I’d like to thank everyone who came along for their ded­i­ca­tion and loy­alty to the Bel­grade and the panto.”

When Princess Belle pricks her fin­ger on an en­chanted spin­ning wheel, she’s cursed to fall asleep for 100 years, un­less she’s kissed by her one true love.

En­ter the dash­ing Prince Valiant, along with Nanny Fanny McWheeze and Mud­dles, who em­bark on a brave adventure to save the Princess from her ter­ri­ble fate. But with the wicked Fairy Cara­bosse de­ter­mined to ruin their plans, will the trusty trio be tri­umphant or is the Princess doomed to a cen­tury of snooz­ing?

Don’t get caught nap­ping when the na­tion’s dreami­est pan­tomime Sleep­ing Beauty comes to the Bel­grade The­atre from Novem­ber 21 un­til Jan­uary 5.

Tick­ets are avail­able to book now by calling the box of­fice on 024 7655 3055 or vis­it­ing www.bel­

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