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Posts Tagged ‘panto’

  1. If I only had a brain/heart

    January 17, 2017 by Amy Hansford

    Towards the end of the run of “Aladdin & The Lost Christmas”, John asked me an important question. Would I, Amy Hansford, officially co-direct the following year’s panto with him?

    A simple question, you might think. But not so. It took some thought.

    My instant thought was ‘yes, of course, yes! I want to direct and be a part of the best little panto in Milton Keynes!’. But I’ve learned over the past year that I have to interview both my heart AND my head when making decisions. So I took some time to think.

    Heart: This is so cool! I’m honoured! I’ve loved doing a bit of directing this year and I want to do more!
    Head: Hold up – this isn’t just saying yes to next year. This is committing further than that. You can’t just jump in, do a bit, then walk away.
    Heart: I know, but I love panto! And I love being in a position to help make it even better!
    Head: Granted. So you’re okay with the extra commitment?
    Heart: …?
    Head: This isn’t just being at every rehearsal. This is joining the production team for the show, making decisions, judgements.
    Heart: Yeah, I want that. I like being able to steer stuff!
    Head: Being on the audition panel.
    Heart: That’s cool!
    Head: Is it? Having to tell some people yes and some people no?
    Heart: Um… not that bit.FIGHT!
    Head: No. Still okay with it?
    Heart: … Yeah. Yeah, I can do that.
    Head: Okay, so what about keeping the cast happy?
    Heart: It’s pantoland, everyone’s happy!
    Head: Not always – you need to listen to everyone. Sometimes you’ll need to make a decision that’s right for the show, but it might put noses out of joint. It’s a tightrope. You’re doing a million things in the background and in your head, people only see what’s happening on the surface.
    Heart: You’re making this less fun.
    Head: I’m being practical.
    Heart: But what about the fun? And spending time with my friends, and being part of something meaningful? And being instrumental in something that is an actual part of the Christmas tradition for families?
    Head: About that – do you really want that pressure?
    Heart: Of having fun?
    Head: Of not ruining Christmas. Of taking on arguably the most successful ‘amateur’ pantomime in Britain.
    Heart: What?
    Head: Sells out in advance, raises large amounts for charity, keeps ticket prices low to ensure everyone has access to family entertainment, keeps subs low to ensure everyone has access to being in panto, amazing costumes and sets and lights and sound, bespoke music…
    Heart: Alright alright alright. Yes, I want all those good things. And yes, I will take on all the bad things.
    Head: What about the year after?
    Head: What. About. The.
    Heart: I heard you. Yes. The year after. And the year after that. I’ll take it. All of it.

    And so I said yes.

    Onwards to Oz…

  2. September 21, 2013 by Amy Hansford

    I know it’s been quiet here. Pyjama Drama is a full time job, and by full time I mean I have been spending every spare moment publicising where I can and learning lesson plans, as well as being my own finance and HR department. It’s knackering, but I still wouldn’t change it for the world.

    Life in brief:

    Little L wears glasses now. Glasses are cool.
    One year married – yay!
    I’m debating selling all my costumes in the garage (and returning those which I curate). Thoughts appreciated, full blog another time.
    Go and read A Thrifty Mrs‘s blog as it is brilliant.
    I’m in Mother Goose as Glinda the Good Fairy. This one, right here. You should come and see it (I know where you live*.)


    *I don’t.

  3. Life advice #1: Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

    January 12, 2013 by Amy Hansford

    Life advice from a 90 year old? I’ll take it.
    Backstory blog can be found here.

    its-okay1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

    Since the start of December, I have been learning the words, songs, dances and blocking to play Aladdin in the Griffin Players‘ pop up panto, a one off day of shows for the families of a local company. The chap who played him in the main family panto wasn’t available on the planned show date and I was delighted to be asked to step in.

    It was great. I’ve never played a lead in a panto. I’ve played the comedy lead over and over, which I adore. But the romantic lead? I’ve neither the look or the grace for it. But somehow, we made it work, and rehearsals were brilliant. Full of laughs and I finally got to sing a solo, something unheard of since the days of Anything Goes (2007?).

    The night before the panto I was struck down with the norovirus. When it hit me at 5am that I wouldn’t be able to do the show despite all the hard work, I was absolutely gutted. Gutted for letting down the cast, gutted for giving the director a horrid task the morning of the show, and gutted to have had the opportunity taken away from me.

    A knight in shining armour made it to the venue with 15 minutes to spare before the first show and played Aladdin with script in hand to an amazed audience and a grateful cast. The shows went down brilliantly – the Griffins have been asked back next year – and the day was saved. Meanwhile, I was – well, you know – for the next three days.

    So that’s the “life isn’t fair” bit. But it’s still good.

    It gave me an enforced rest break in these months of rehearsals/visits/work/being a mummy. As a friend pointed out, while it was cruel to have put in all that work and then fall ill, it gave me a chance to remember what it’s like to be on a stage. To sing. To learn a dance routine. It stopped me from going too rusty. It reminded me how much fun it is to be part of a cast family again.

    And you know what? It’s still good.

  4. Countdown

    January 4, 2013 by Amy Hansford

    No, not the telly programme. The timed anticipation of events. And there are lots of them coming in 2013.

    3 weeks until: Opening night for Friends Of Dorothy, the adult panto that I co-wrote for the Griffin Players. Rehearsals invariably contain a portion of people becoming unable to speak through laughter. The cast are just so good at what they do and are so easy to direct. The show is going to be brilliant.
    2 months until: The end of an era! More on this nearer the time.
    3 months until: Little L’s second birthday. No idea what to do yet, but the thought of being able to do anything at all is quite exciting.
    And a bit further to: Jenny and Stuart’s wedding. It’s going to be brilliant.

    And they’re just for starters. It’s going to be a good year.

  5. All change

    January 3, 2012 by Amy Hansford

    You may notice that ye olde blog looks a little different. I thought it was time for a little update and change of colour, plus changing to a theme that gives me a little more breathing space on the blog side of the panel compared to the last one. You like?

    According to Google Analytics, someone came to my website last month using possibly the most amusing phrase ever as a search term. “how to touch a girls butt without her finding out while she is awaket”. Brilliant. Certainly tickled me. The answer is here for you kiddo: don’t. You’ll get the most amazing slap if you do.

    And finally, I did say that I would make a hat to go with the washing-up themed pantomime dame dress below. That I did. Using baubles hotglued to a base and kept on with elastic, it’s meant to look like washing up bubbles. Unfortunately, given the rigorous nature of the dance routine involved, the hat had to be retired to the dressing room. Mind you, it still looked bloody good up to that point!

  6. There Is Something Like A Dame

    November 26, 2011 by Amy Hansford

    Good news and bad news.

    The bad news is that the dress arrived and, while the label does indeed say it’s a size 16, it’s an old size 16, meaning really a 12-14. Not big enough for a dame dress, unless you have a very skinny one.

    The good news is that I was able to pick up a size 18 Laura Ashley dress from the charity shop this morning in a deep royal blue. It’s a little heavier than I’d like (I am notorious for worrying about principals dehydrating) but otherwise perfect. I popped in a modesty panel at the back (what is it with the 80s and random bows on backless dresses?) and pretty much stuck to the original design, ending up with this.

    I’m going to add another stitch into the front pink glove to make it a little more centred, but it should look great when the dame turns. I’ve not put the sponge pad squares over the boobs as I wonder if it’s a bit too much. Thoughts?

    Now I’m just waiting for a little construct to dry in order to cover it with white plastic baubles, i.e. washing up bubbles. It’ll make a great accompanying hat to nestle in the wig. If there are enough baubles left over, I’ll make a chunky necklace too. One day I’ll learn when to stop!

  7. There Is Nothing Like A Dame!

    November 25, 2011 by Amy Hansford

    I’ve given myself (or rather Splat Costumes) a small project.

    I’m starting off with a basic dress and seeing if I can turn it into a dame dress. The outfit intself is in the post so I’ll have a couple of days to turn it around. I’ve designed it so am off to Asda for supplies. It’s not going to be Biggins standard, but hopefully will turn out better than a basic fishtail dress in a horrific fabric. So, here’s the plan – let’s see how it actually works out!