WARREN HAYDEN: Lure of greasepaint runs in the family

The Kings Theatre, Southsea, is one of my favourite places to spend my leisure time.

Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 6:01 am
Launch of the Kings Theatre 2013 panto Sleeping Beauty. Helen Hunt as Sleeping Beauty, L-R Warren Hayden - Lord Chamberlain, Christopher Maloney - The Prince, Christopher Marlowe - Queen Gertie the Georgeous, Daniella Westbrook - Fairy Sparkle, Tony Adams - King Egbert the Oval, dancers Lily Patterson 11, Megan Atkins 11 and Ella-Louise Bonner 10 of the Iris Barnes school of dance. Picture: Paul Jacobs (132781-2) ENGPPP00120130810154113

Firstly, it is situated on Albert Road which is full of different stores, coffee shops, restaurants and has so much character.

Then, once you get into the theatre itself you are struck by its beauty, elegance and style.

In 2013 I was lucky enough to appear in the Christmas pantomime Sleeping Beauty.

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Starring alongside Home and Away star Lynne McGranger and Kings favourite Matt Dallen, I played the Lord Chamberlain.

It was great to be on that famous stage with so many talented performers, but it was being in the theatre and having access to parts of it that I wouldn’t usually have that gave me the biggest thrill.

Ever since, I’ve enjoyed being back in the audience watching shows by the likes of Lee Evans, Alan Carr and Elvis tribute act Lee Memphis King.

Recently the Kings opened its doors to the public for its annual open day and it was a suggestion from my dad that we take my daughters, Caitlin and Alyssa, to have a look around.

I did wonder if a five and seven-year-old would get bored walking around a theatre while their dad and grandad admired the architecture,

But I was delighted to discover that the Kings Theatre staff worked hard to make sure the day catered for all ages.

After we arrived and made our way up the staircase we started to explore.

My girls enjoyed sitting in one of the boxes and enjoying the close-up view of the stage.

They were then surprised to learn they could both stand on the stage and join in with the children from a local dance school.

Five-year-old Alyssa was a bit shy but seven-year-old Caitlin, after a bit of hesitation, took to the stage while I scrambled to grab my phone from my pocket to record the moment.

Just like when her daddy was in panto, she got a taste for it and wanted to go back on the stage at the earliest opportunity.

We then went backstage and I got to show my daughters my panto dressing room which brought back memories of trying to apply make-up and not quite knowing what I was doing.

We then made our way to the bar where instead of patrons drinking a glass of wine, there were tables set up for children to take part in arts and crafts. There was glitter, glue, string, paper and everything the girls needed to be creative. All in the room where my panto rehearsals took place in 2013.

But it got better when a traditional Punch and Judy show began which made them, and us, laugh.

It was a fantastic day and great to be back at the magnificent Kings Theatre.


Do you know everything about your other half?

Serena and I have been together 13 years and I thought that during that time we would have learned everything about each other.

But it would appear, although I know many of her likes and dislikes, I don’t know everything.

I realised this when I walked into the living room where she was sitting on the sofa watching television. It was what she was viewing that surprised me.

She was watching a darts tournament. I was perplexed. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked. ‘Watching the darts,’ she responded.

‘But you don’t like darts,’ I fired back at her. ‘Yes I do,’ she said.

I’d never seen her watch darts before and I was confused that after being together for all that time I didn’t know this. It’s makes me wonder what else I don’t know.

Then again, she doesn’t know that sometimes when our daughters leave the room, I continue to watch Peppa Pig all on my own.

If she didn’t know. She does now.