July, July! Summer’s here and our children are cast - Croydon Blog 6 - July 2019

July is nearing its end and August is almost upon us. That means there’s less than 4 months to go until Cinderella at Fairfield Halls goes into rehearsals!

The main event to update on is that our children’s ensemble is cast! The Imagine team had a fantastic day at the end of June casting our three teams of 8 children. The queue was so long that it snaked around the building and there was a huge amount of excitement in the air from both the children and their families there to support them. It was extremely exciting to see the buzz that is already being created around the production and the joy generated through an opportunity that allowed children from all backgrounds between the ages of 9-16 to audition for their chance to be a part of the Fairfield Halls pantomime.

The queue for the junior ensemble auditions went round the building!

The queue for the junior ensemble auditions went round the building!

Choreographer Lynne Thomas puts the children through their paces in front of the judging panel

Choreographer Lynne Thomas puts the children through their paces in front of the judging panel

139 young people took part in the auditions and the standard was amazing. Our Choreographer Lynne Thomas really had to put them through their paces. The morning cuts led to recalls in the afternoon, and a closely fought but very supportive and friendly second round. Casting the final teams plus a team of reserves was tough but we’re thrilled to introduce you to them. They’ll attend all rehearsals but then split the run between them.

Introducing our three teams of children who will appear in Cinderella

Introducing our three teams of children who will appear in Cinderella

In another casting update, we’re delighted to welcome two more principal cast members to the team. American actress Katie Cameron will play the Wicked Stepmother and James Bisp plays Prince Charming. Katie has worked for Imagine twice before and has always been an absolute smash hit. She played the Wicked Queen in Snow White at the Hexagon, Reading for us in 2016 to rave reviews and will bring her own unique New Yorker twang to the part. She really is fabulous! James is new to Imagine but we’re really excited to work with him and to see how he and Ore Oduba work in the double act of Prince/ Dandini.

It’s been a busy month in the world of costume design. Our amazing designer, Mark Walters, has now finished the costume designs and we’ve started to commission makers. They are fabulous and tie in beautifully with Marks set design and colour palette for the show. Here’s a sneak peak of one of the fabulous designs Mark has done for the Wicked Stepmother.

The Wicked Stepmother costume design which will be worn by Katie Cameron

The Wicked Stepmother costume design which will be worn by Katie Cameron

We’ve also started to make some big progress on the set build. We’ll update you more on this in future months.

Last week also saw another production meeting for the show at our offices in Coventry. This time it was the turn of Production Manager John Young and Lighting Designer Jamie Corbidge to get together with the Imagine head office team of Laura Taylor and Dave Edmunds, to start the detailed planning of how the set will fit up, the lighting designs will work and to understand how all the technology which forms such a critical part of the production will integrate together. To watch John and Jamie’s reactions to the designs and ideas was great for us to see. The concept and model are consistently getting extremely positive and excited feedback and we can’t wait to share it with you!

We’ve been asked on several occasions by people working on the show whose concept this show is? Well, we’re very proud to say it’s the brainchild of our MD Steve Boden, who came up with the principals and concepts of how he visualised this production working. His ideas were then turned into a design concept by the amazing Mark Walters. We will run a more detailed story about it in the coming months, once we have more images of the set build to share. It really is something different and exciting!

So, we move onwards into August, where we will start to physically be able to hold set pieces and costumes.  Script work will continue to progress well, and the venue will be nearing its handover, ready for the re-opening on 16th September and its first gala concert on 18th September. It really is all go in Croydon!