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Gravesend forgoes stars for local talent for Christmas panto

PUBLISHED: 11:01 18 May 2011

Actress Sameera Steward as Sleeping Beauty and Emily Trebicki as the evil fairy in Imagine's production in Halifax last year

Actress Sameera Steward as Sleeping Beauty and Emily Trebicki as the evil fairy in Imagine's production in Halifax last year

Archant

Competing with the pulling power of Ann Widdecombe and Vanilla Ice is no concern for a new company planning to use north Kent talent to make the Woodville Halls' pantomime sparkle this winter.

Imagine Theatre Company will stage Sleeping Beauty in Gravesend, but rather than pay out for a big-name star like neighbouring theatres The Orchard, Dartford, and Central Theatre, Chatham, managing director Steve Bodem is determined to focus on harnessing local acting talent.

He said: “We have found that for everyone attracted to a production because of the star, there is someone who is put off by it. We prefer to concentrate on trained actors. For all the goodwill in the world, I think Ann Widdecombe would be the first to admit she is not a trained actress.”

In particular Imagine, whose writers are responsible for children’s TV hit shows The Tweenies and Fun Song Factory, are keen to use undiscovered talent and established performers from the region.

“We think it is important to use performers who have experience of performing in that particular theatre already. If we find someone suitable, we will often invite them back year after year, so they become quite a local celebrity,” he added.

The group will be recruiting the chorus-line and “babes” from the community. Auditions for the roles will be held in September for anyone aged between eight and 16.

The show will then run from December 10 to January 1.

For booking details, call 01474 337774.

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