This year’s pantomime is led by Bradford pantomime king Billy Pearce, singer and Loose Women panellist Coleen Nolan and stage star Shane Nolan; and they are joined by an array of talented musical theatre performers: Yorkshire-man Jack Land Noble, Graham Hoadly, Sarah Goggin and Sam Barrett.
In order to deliver this “magical, spectacular” show, which “is one of the best pantomimes around and a must see…” (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 20 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 (15 venue staff & 7 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 were 120 sheets of special flooring put down on the Alhambra Theatre’s stage and approximately 900 screws used to hold it in place
• it takes 21 members of backstage crew to run each performance (13 venue staff and 8 Qdos staff); and whilst changing the scenery during the show the crew walk approximately ¼ mile
• 237 lights have been rigged and there are 432 lighting cues executed during the show, which is a total of 30,672 for the run
• There are 23 Pyrotechnics (special indoor theatrical fireworks) fired per show; which is 1,633 for the run
• approximately around 3 x tonnes of weights have been used to hang the lighting, sound, and scenery; and during the show, the staff operating the flying bars have to move 78 bars, which in length equates to 2,047.24 feet (or nearly ½ mile) per show
• Cinderella and her helpers have to carry 47 boxes and 8 bags for the Ugly Sisters at each performance
• A total of 107 invitations to the Ball have been made for the run – there is an invitation torn up by Cinderella at every performance
• There are 67 music cues in every show performed live by the band
• over 2,500 diners will have been served in the Alhambra Theatre’s Restaurant 1914 during the run of pantomime
• The main Christmas tree in the Alhambra Theatre reception area had 2,000 lights on it and there were over 3,000 lights twinkling away in the foyer this year
• 11,424 tubs of ice cream were ordered during panto. Had 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!
• Most of the backstage crew know the dance moves to the routines and you can find them dancing along in the wings!
• There were 2 “vet” visits a week for the flying horses; and 2 bags of horse nuts used a week!
As well as the all-star cast, ground-breaking special effects and specialist costumes once again took centre stage. Over the past six years, audiences coming to the Alhambra Theatre pantomime have been treated to an array of show-stopping effects, created by The Twins FX. In addition to The Twins’ effects, this year the Alhambra Theatre pantomime also boasted input by Mike Coltman and his team at Costume Construction, who are providing an array of specialty costumes and props for the show.
Unmissable 3D spectacle also returned to this year’s Alhambra Theatre pantomime in the form of an eye-popping journey through the Enchanted Forest! It was at the Alhambra Theatre ten years ago that pantomime producers, Qdos Entertainment, first featured ground-breaking 3D as part of their shows.