South Hill Park panto to go ‘live’ for sick children
"Hundreds of poorly youngsters will enjoy a pantomime from their bedside after several children’s hospices and hospitals signed up to receive a live streamed performance.
South Hill Park’s pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk will be broadcasted live via the internet on Thursday, December 13.
Children at Naomi House in Winchester, Helen House in Oxford, Shooting Star House in Surrey, Christopher’s Children Hospice in Guildford and Little Bridge House in North Devon will be saying ‘Oh yes we can’ next month.
Many hospitals are considering the opportunity with St Thomas’s in London and Basingstoke and North Hampshire keen to participate.
The project has been made possible through an £141,000 Arts Council grant, which launched SHP Live – focusing on live streaming performances to reach a wider audience.
Children’s hospitals or hospices which would like to find out more can contact Emma Donald."
Chat with Old Ma Donald on twitter .
By Caroline Cook
October 23, 2012
By Caroline Cook
October 23, 2012
A handful of beans will be turned into a spiralling staircase to the sky in a magical production at South Hill Park this winter.
Jack will be inviting adventurers to join him as he climbs up to the clouds, comes face to face with a giant, and tries to get back home in one piece.
Stars of the show – including a few friendly puppets – gathered at the arts centre last week to launch this year’s panto Jack and the Beanstalk.
“It’s going to be the best panto in the country!” exclaimed director Julian Hirst excitedly as he introduced Tom Neil, who plays French student Maurice and Amy Newman, who plays Daisy the Cow.
“There’s going to be a lot of slapstick and we are going to be bringing in some illusions,” said Julian.
“We are going to make this year very Christmassy too. It’s all part of the countdown.”
This year’s pantomime promises to be packed with magic, music and larger than life characters including Dame Old Ma Donald, played by Julian.
“I don’t think we’ve had a director who's been in the show so I’m very brave or very mad,” laughed Julian.
“Old Ma Donald is a very old-time musical type Dame. The Les Dawson type rather than Danny La Rue.”
Old Ma Donald also has her own Twitter account – @Old_Ma_Donald – where she will be posting plenty of jokes and backstage secrets in the run-up to the show.
Joining Old Ma Donald in the panto is Maurice, who arrives in Jack’s village on a French exchange programme.
“This is my French accent which I’m going to do some work on,” said Tom with a comedy French twang.
“Maurice is a French exchange student who has come to England to study the British sense of humour except he does not get any of the jokes.
“He goes around trying these jokes on various different people.
“They are jokes like ‘there was a man who was in a ’orrible accident and he lost his left arm and his left leg. But don’t worry, he’s all right now’.”
Daisy the Cow will also be showing off her mooves on stage, when she performs the cow ballet.
“Obviously it’s going to be very artistic,” said Amy Newman, who plays Daisy.
Amy, who is a paediatric nurse, was a runner-up in Bracknell’s Got Talent earlier this year and will be bringing her talent show skills to the panto.
“This is my first professional role and I can’t wait,” she said.
“Kids read these books all the time and I think when they come to the panto it’s bringing these childhood stories to life.
“My niece will be coming and she will be so confused when she sees her auntie as Daisy the Cow!” she laughed.
The show will also be paying a tongue-in-cheek homage to reality talent shows like BGT with cabaret style skits in between acts, performed by 36 local children who are starring in the show.
“In the past the children tend to be village children and extras but this year what I am trying to do is make sure every child in the show gets their 15 seconds of fame,” said Julian.
“During a couple of the set changes we are going to have a spoof of Britain’s Got Talent.
“And there’s one scene where all the principals are tied up in the giant’s castle so it’s up to the puppets and the children to rescue them.”
And the cast cannot wait to get stuck into all the chaos and magic of the pantomime.
“The show is an upbeat, laugh-out-loud, slapstick comedy,” said Julian.
“Panto is about family and it’s something everyone can come and see at the same time.
“If parents are going to a pay to come along with their children it’s important we entertain them just as much as the kids.
“South Hill Park has always had a unique take on pantomime in that we tend to be a little bit more theatre and less celebrity and it’s going to be a brilliant show.”