It’s big, it’s bold, it’s bright, it’s back!! Yes, it’s that time of year when the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club and the famous Cambridge Footlights bring us dancing, singing, slapstick and more in their annual pantomime. This year, they’re transporting us to Paris to tell the tale of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
I look forward to this show each year and I’m always struck by the high production values, the professionalism and the talent of the cast so I met with Nick Harrison and Charlotte Stephenson, the producers of this year’s panto, to find out more about how the show is put together. They tell me that the process started back in May when they were appointed. Their first job was to choose a Director and together they formed a panel to interview writers. From a variety of applications, they selected Zak Ghazi-Torbati and Sam Knights, who impressed with the way they proposed to bring this sometimes dark story of The Hunchback of Notre Dame to life. With a production team, composer and lyricist recruited by the end of the Easter term, the script was written over the summer break.
Cast auditions were held at the beginning of October and crew members to run the show were also appointed. Rehearsals started in mid-October so now, with preparations for the panto going full steam ahead, Nick and Charlotte are keeping a firm hand on the tiller, ensuring that all areas of the production are in synch, on time and on budget. With a cast and crew of over sixty people, that’s a lot to manage before the lights go up on opening night but Nick and Charlotte love what they do, speaking warmly of the camaraderie and commitment of everyone involved in this production.
The pantomime runs from 22 November to 2 December and tickets are snapped up so I advise booking as soon as you can. If you miss the boat, a very small number of seats are released for every performance on the day but you need to call in person at the Box Office to have a chance of getting tickets this way.
So go on, get ready to cheer the goodies, boo the baddies and marvel at the mayhem …. you know you want to!!
Park Street, Cambridge CB5 8AS