This year’s pantomime is led by an array of comedy, television and musical theatre stars - Billy Pearce, Darren Day, Charlie Hardwick, Jon Lee. They are joined by Lucy Evans as Tinker Bell; Marina Lawrence-Mahrra as Tiger Lily; and Rosie O’Hare as Wendy who is from Huddersfield. Four local boys, William Campbell (from Cullingworth), Will Collier (from Rothwell), Theo Francis (from Embsay) and Leo McDonnell (from Horsforth) also joined the cast in the roles of Michael and John Darling following open auditions held at the Alhambra Theatre last autumn.
In order to deliver “the Alhambra’s spectacular panto” (Telegraph & Argus), which is “packed with some genuine laugh out loud moments” (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 23 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 5 wagons transported the set, effects, lighting and sound equipment to the Alhambra
· staff worked approximately 901 hours from the get in to the first performance
· it took 2 separate sets of backstage crew working in 48 hour shifts to get the previous show out of the Alhambra Theatre; and then another 2 sets of staff worked another 48 hours to build the set and light the pantomime before the cast started to rehearse on stage
· there were 120 sheets of special flooring put down on the Alhambra stage and approximately 720
screws used to hold it in place
· it takes 21 members of backstage crew to run each performance (12 venue staff and 9 Qdos staff)
· there are 307 lighting cues executed during the show, which is a total of 22,411 for the run; and 158 follow spot cues per show (a total of 11,534 for the run)
· approximately 2,700 special 3D glasses are washed each day; and on average 5 people per week return their real spectacles instead of their 3D glasses at the end of the show!
· approximately 22,000 ice creams, 27,000 hot drinks; 6,400 pints of beer, 3,200 glasses of wine and 15,400 glasses of pop are sold during the run of pantomime
· over 2,500 diners are served in Restaurant 1914 during the run of pantomime
· there are 11 full size Christmas trees erected in the venue in December; the tallest one is 14 feet high and has over 500 lights on it
· Billy will have greeted his audiences with "ahoy there mateys" over 1,100 times; Peter Pan could have flown to Leeds and back; and Mr Crocodile will have roared over 1,200 times during the pantomime run!
· and at the end of the run, it will take 16 crew around 12 hours to pack away the show for another year…
Ground-breaking special effects once again take centre stage in this year’s production. Over the past five years, audiences at the Alhambra Theatre pantomime have been treated to an array of show-stopping effects, created by The Twins FX. This year is no exception as real life twins, Gary and Paul Hardy-Brown, have created the biggest crocodile in panto-land!
Also, an exciting 3D sequence takes audiences deep into the ocean on a magical underwater adventure. It was at the Alhambra Theatre ten years ago that pantomime producers, Qdos Entertainment, first featured ground-breaking 3D as part of their shows. Since then the wizardry behind 3D graphics has been made even more sophisticated to ensure audiences are on the edge of their seats!
“Shiver me timbers - Billy and the gang triumph at Neverland” Telegraph & Argus
“This version of Peter Pan … is also packed with some genuine laugh out loud moments…” Yorkshire Post
“Veteran performer Billy Pearce continues to deliver in a pantomime with stunning 3D effects” The Stage