Fun facts – what it takes to bring panto magically to life at the Alhambra Theatre

This year’s pantomime is led by Bradford pantomime king Billy Pearce, stage and screen personality Christopher Biggins and Blue sensation Simon Webbe.  They are joined by an array of talented musical theatre performers: Sarah Goggin; Carl Sanderson; David O'Mahony; and Emily Beth Harrington.

In order to deliver this “spectacular, slick production” (T&A) which is “enough to blow your socks off!” (Yorkshire Post), there is an army of backstage people, production crew and venue staff who work tirelessly during rehearsals and every performance to bring this magical show to life. 

The annual Alhambra Theatre pantomime brings together the work of over 40 technical and production staff, 20 performers and musicians; and 19 local children as The Sunbeams.  Plus there are up to an additional 160 venue staff, including bars & catering, box office, cleaning, front of house and stage-door teams, who work to ensure the venue is ready to open its doors to the public during the run of pantomime. 

Here’s a peek behind the scenes into what audiences might not know, and probably don’t see:

A total of 6 wagons transported the set, effects, lighting and sound equipment to the Alhambra

It took 22 production crew (11 venue staff & 11 Qdos staff) working 12 hour days to build the show

The set and equipment was built in 3.5 days, which gave the cast 2.5 days on stage to rehearse before the show opened

There are 37 Pyrotechnics (special indoor theatrical fireworks) fired per show; which is 2,627 for the run; and 10 litres of smoke machine fluid used every week

There are 52 speakers rigged for the show; 22 cloths or flats fly in and out per show each weighing between 100 & 250kg each; and there are 275 spotlight cues per show

Christopher Biggins as Widow Twankey will have changed costume 852 times; and he will have fired 7kg of marshmallows out into the audience by the end of the run

The Technical Assistant Stage Manager takes about 10,400 steps on a two show day – that’s about 4.4 miles

Over 2,500 meals will have been served in the Alhambra Theatre’s Restaurant 1914 by the team of 16 restaurant staff during the run of pantomime

50 large Norfolk Bronze Turkeys have been cooked by the team of 8 chefs; and approximately 1400 crackers have been pulled by diners

Over 4,000 pints of lager; 3,500 teas and coffees; 500 slush puppies; 12,600 glasses of soft drinks; and 770 cakes & scones have been served since opening of panto

Over 11,400 tubs of ice cream have been ordered during panto. If they been stacked one on top of each other, the tower would have been over 750 metres high - that’s over 2.5 Eiffel Towers and would have made it the second largest tower in the world!

Members of the Front of House team wash 3000 3D glasses every day, and find about 5 pairs of actual spectacles in the washing per week

The flying carpet has to have special dispensation from “Air Traffic Control” to perform its flight!

It will take 15 Alhambra Theatre technical crew 14 hours each to dismantle and pack the show away after the final performance

***** FIVE STARS"… this is really a celebration of old fashioned stagecraft with a dash of modern wizardry thrown in."The Stage

This year, producers Qdos have pulled out every pantomime stop to make it their best at the theatre yet.” 5/5 Yorkshire Post

“This is a spectacular, slick production, with jaw-dropping special effects…..” Telegraph & Argus


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