Take your seats - it's pantomime time
PUBLISHED: 10:11 22 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:53 26 November 2018
We take a look at some of the places curtains will be rising around Norfolk, beginning with Aladdin at the Norwich Theatre Royal where the star tells John Bultitude how he's moved from the stalls to the stage.
Hollyoaks favourite Steven Roberts is set to star in his very first pantomime. Where better than Norwich Theatre Royal, which brings his acting dreams full circle?
He explained: “Seeing the pantomime there was where I first fell in love with the theatre. It was my earliest memory of seeing something on stage. My family used to live near Lowestoft and we used to get on the train to see it. I remember it being so colourful and fun.”
It was those childhood visits that made him realise acting was his career dream and he set his mind to pursuing a show business career, going to stage school, doing his A-Levels and then getting a place at drama school.
Almost straight from there, he was lucky enough to win the part of fashion student George Smith in Channel 4’s tea-time soap hit Hollyoaks. While at first glance, George was a fashionista donning designer labels and bringing an air of flamboyance to the Chester-set show, his three years in the soap gave him the chance to portray a multi-layered character.
Steven recalled: “It was exciting because when I first joined, I didn’t know where George’s storyline would go. He came in as a fashion student who came in wearing anything and everything that took his fancy.
“Those costumes were interesting and then shortly after I joined, it transpired he had run away from home because he was worried about how his family would accept his sexuality. He found himself living on the streets with his friend Phoebe and that was a big part of my time there.
“It was a challenging storyline exploring how young people can find themselves on the streets and how they cope with it. It was a tough storyline to do but I worked with the Centrepoint charity on it. It was true to life and had a strong message about learning to accept yourself and surround yourselves with the right people. He had some nice friends. There was one night we did a sleep out to raise money for charity. To think that people have to do that night in and night out is terrible.”
Since then, his career has moved sideways into theatre and he took on one of his dream roles – the sensitive Posner in the UK tour of Alan Bennett’s classic play The History Boys.
He also took part in a heart-warming production of The Secret Garden for York Theatre Royal over the summer which saw the human cast get some help from puppets to tell the classic story. Steven said: “It was a magical family adventure. It is a story of friendship, what it can do and how together they can overcome obstacles.”
And he is really looking forward to joining a star cast including Norwich Theatre Royal panto stalwart Richard Gauntlett and Norfolk-based comedy entertainer Ben Langley in Aladdin from December 12 to January 13.
“I think panto feels nostalgic in a nice way. I remember coming to see pantomime when I was really diddy and I remember loving being part of that,” said Steven.
So Aladdin is going to be magical for Steven in more ways than one this Christmas. Oh yes it is.
Norwich Theatre Royal, December 12 - January 13. www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000.
Relaxed performance especially suited to those with autism and their family and friends on January 4 at 5.30pm. Tickets for this performance can be booked in person at the box office or by phone on 01603 630000.
What else can we see? Shows on the way in our area for Christmas 2018 include:
Cromer Pier Christmas Show
November 24 - December 30
White Christmas the Musical
Fakenham Community Centre
December 27 – January 1
Dereham Memorial Hall
December 5 – 30
Gorleston Pavilion Theatre –
Dick Comes Again
December 14 - 16
Gorleston Pavilion Theatre
December 7 –31
King’s Lynn Corn Exchange,
The Corn Hall
Beccles Public Hall and Theatre
Gorleston Pavillion Theatre
The Wizard of Oz
St. George’s Theatre
December 15 - 30
December 8 – January 6
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
December 1 – January 1
January 11-13, 18-20, 24-26
The Lecture Hall
December 13 - January 1
December 20 - 24
North Walsham Pop Up People’s Theatre
Tickets from the Showcase Gallery in the Market Place, call 01692 434112.
The Wizard of Oz
Beauty and the Beast
December 8 - January 1
Sheringham Little Theatre
January 31 - February 2 2019
Queens Hall, Watton
Get in the festive spirit at your local show or panto!