THE panto season is a crucial time at The Kings Theatre and a firm favourite in the Portsmouth events calendar.
And as the clock ticks down to this year’s Jack and the Beanstalk festive production at the Southsea venue, young performers have been given the chance to audition for roles in the show.
This really dispels every myth about Portsmouth. People think this is a black hole of culture and talent. These young people put these myths to bed.Joanna Bennington, youth theatre coordinator
A total of 220 children, aged seven to 12, yesterday danced their hearts out on stage in the hope of landing one of 30 parts.
Judges were on the lookout for budding dance stars with good technique, performance skills and who were able to pick up new things quickly.
In the end, only 30 were chosen to appear in the show, which is set to run from December 6 through to January 1.
Miranda Williamson, of Cosham, was all smiles as her son Louis, 10, was picked to appear in his fourth Kings panto. A delighted Miranda said: ‘He is a very keen dancer. The fact he has done it before made him want it even more. He just loves getting out there to perform.
‘I’m extremely proud. It’s brilliant.’
Louis said: ‘I am really, really happy about it and I worked hard for it.
‘I was nervous, but I’m looking forward to being on the stage with the rest of the team. I love pantos, they are fun and you get to do lots of cool things in between the shows.’
And gearing up for her fifth panto appearance is 12-year-old Daisy May.
She said: ‘It’s amazing because I get to dance at Christmas time, which is really special.’
Later in the day, teenagers aged 13 and over got the chance to try out for separate dancing roles and there were slots for more professional dancers available.
Celebrities to appear in Jack and the Beanstalk include Anne Hegerty – famous for being a ‘Chaser’ in TV game show The Chase, who will star as Blackweed. Former X Factor finalist Sam Callahan picks up the starring role of Jack.
Panto choreographer Ashley Johnson said: ‘This is a huge occasion. In Portsmouth, the talent is very, very good.
‘The panto is a family show, it’s a great Christmas experience for all the family so we want it to be as professional as possible.’
Joanna Bennington, youth theatre co-ordinator, said: ‘This really dispels every myth about Portsmouth. People think this is a black hole of culture and talent. These young people put these myths to bed.’