Drip drip drop, little April Showers…. - Croydon Blog 3 - April 2019

Outside, time ticks on, and the signs of spring grow ever stronger. Inside the Imagine offices, April has been a month of huge activity on Cinderella at the Fairfield Halls, mixed in with the occasional shower (but thankfully no thunderstorms!) here and there! April showers really did live up to their name in the world of Cinderella.

 

First comes a casting shower! We are delighted to be able to announce that our Ugly Sisters have been cast! Jason Marc Williams and Alistair Barron join the Croydon cast, bringing within them a wealth of experience in pantomime. Both have appeared in the Imagine Theatre pantomimes for the past 3 years, and promise to be hilarious…. if their past on stage performances and photo shoot antics are anything to go by! They are outrageous and great fun for the whole family. There’s also some HUGE casting news to hit during May so keep your eyes peeled! We’re super excited.

Jason and Alistair get in front of the camera

Jason and Alistair get in front of the camera

 

There’s also been a shower of design work completed by Mark Walters! He’s sent the first design concepts through now, and we’re moving onto the next stage which is the white card model. We are so excited. The designs are absolutely stunning, and we can’t wait to let you in on some of the ideas we’ve been working on! More about that in our later blogs 😊

What an amazing place (with a fabulous name!)

What an amazing place (with a fabulous name!)

 

25th April saw a deluge of photos being taken as the stars of Cinderella gathered together for the photo shoot. Tim Vine, Cat Sandion and our ‘Uglies’ Jason and Marc were joined by a fifth, “yet to be announced”, cast member! We spent the day at Cherry Duck Studios in Wapping, and created some great content to share with you over the coming months. We hope you enjoy the behind the scenes images we’ve shared with this blog.

How much makeup does it take to turn the Ugly Sisters Ugly? Answer - quite a lot!

How much makeup does it take to turn the Ugly Sisters Ugly? Answer - quite a lot!

 

The venue will be launching their first brochure shortly, the work on the space is progressing really well, and all is on schedule for the re-opening in September.

So, we move into May and all the progress and excitement that will bring – watch out for our next update… oh, and that exciting casting news!

Tim Vine has Videographer Ben and Laura from Imagine in utter hysterics as he’s recording his videos. We had to retake it several times as all you could hear was the whole room laughing out loud behind him!

Tim Vine has Videographer Ben and Laura from Imagine in utter hysterics as he’s recording his videos. We had to retake it several times as all you could hear was the whole room laughing out loud behind him!

Jo adds the finishing touches to Jason’s makeup

Jo adds the finishing touches to Jason’s makeup

Jason Marc Williams and Alistair Barron play the Ugly sisters - and sometimes things didn’t quite go to plan at the photo shoot!!

Jason Marc Williams and Alistair Barron play the Ugly sisters - and sometimes things didn’t quite go to plan at the photo shoot!!

The amazing Cat Sandion from CBeebies plays the Fairy Godmother (thanks for making her look AMAZING, Jo)

The amazing Cat Sandion from CBeebies plays the Fairy Godmother (thanks for making her look AMAZING, Jo)

The utterly hilarious Tim Vine plays Buttons. He had us crying with laughter the whole day - here he is with his pet Boa…. don’t ask!

The utterly hilarious Tim Vine plays Buttons. He had us crying with laughter the whole day - here he is with his pet Boa…. don’t ask!

Who on earth does the fifth pair of shoes belong to?

Who on earth does the fifth pair of shoes belong to?

Selfie Time

Selfie Time

Cat grabs 5 minutes to put her feet up

Cat grabs 5 minutes to put her feet up

Alistair goes for the understated look

Alistair goes for the understated look

Craig and Laura are checking out the photos of Cat

Craig and Laura are checking out the photos of Cat

Marching into Cinderella - Croydon Blog 2 - March 2019

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Whenever we’re asked what we do and we respond that we’re pantomime producers, one of the questions we can guarantee we’ll get asked is “what do you do for the rest of the year?”. Our response is always to explain that, pantomime is for life, not just for Christmas! It may seem like we’re a long way from panto season 2019, but here at Imagine we’ve been working on this particular production of Cinderella for a year already. Bearing this in mind, when we tell people that we’ve been busy working on pantomime in March, we do get some very strange looks!

 Focus is still very much on Mark Walters (designer) and the designs he has planned for Cinderella. He and George Wood (director) recently met to discuss the creative vision for the show and how the scripting, design and musical planning will all hang together. We can’t wait for the next production meeting when Mark presents his thoughts to us in more detail.

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 Sarah and Laura from Imagine also headed down to central London to meet Kevin and Emily from the Fairfield Halls marketing team to finalise the marketing plan and timeline. It’s really strange talking about planning to use the digital screens inside a building when we can’t actually see them, only plans and diagrams of what they will look like and where they will be positioned!

 Casting is well and truly under way. The production team are now in talks with agents to bring the rest of the cast together to surround the already announced Tim Vine and Cat Sandion. More announcements on this soon!

 We are also delighted to welcome a couple more members of the production team to the ‘Cinderella Family’. John Young joins us as production manager for the project, and the fabulous Jamie Corbidge joins us as lighting designer. We’re thrilled to have both of them on board for the project and their reputation and expertise in the theatre industry speaks for itself. We’ll do more of a feature on them both in later blogs. This production of Cinderella really is going to be something special.

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 This month also saw Fairfield Halls have a visit from a real Royal Prince! Prince Edward visited the venue to check up on the progress of the refurbishment. It’s great to know that a Royal Prince has checked out the suitability of the Halls for us in advance of panto!

 The other news that we’d like to share is the date of the children’s ensemble auditions. It’s Sunday 30th June and auditions are to be held at Braithwaite Hall. We’re looking for 3 teams of 8 children to take part in the show. More information can be found at http://www.imaginetheatre.co.uk/pantomimes/2019-cinderella-croydon.

 These auditions are open to all children of all backgrounds and performance experience, who are in year 4 and no younger than 9 years of age on the first day of rehearsals (Saturday 23rd November 2019) to year 11 and no older than 16 years of age on the final performance (Sunday 5th January 2020). Please note that the auditions are for dance only. We will not be asking children to sing or act. You don’t need to register with us in advance – just turn up on the day. We’d love to see as many young people as possible for registration at 9:30am on Sunday 30th June.

 So off we head into April, looking forward to seeing what it has in store for us all!

Photos by Kevin Quilty, Head of Marketing, Fairfield Halls

Cinderella Is Throwing Us Into a Spin-derella! - Croydon Blog 1 - February 2019

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It’s a month now since Imagine Theatre were announced as the producers of pantomime at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, and it’s been quite a month for us!

Even though Imagine have produced pantos all over the country for almost two decades, this project is unlike anything we have ever worked on before. Why is this? It’s because whilst the building is still being refurbished and isn’t open to the public, we’re not able to actually go into a venue, look around and work out our plans from a physical space.  Sure, the concert hall actually exists and we’ve stood on the stage – but it’s full of scaffolding. We know there are lifts in the floor, but we can’t see them because they’re covered in protective cladding. We know there will be seats in the auditorium, but we can’t sit in them to work out sight lines because they’re not actually there. We can’t even see from the back of the space to the stage as the scaffolding is so thick.

So what can we work with? Lots of plans (and we mean LOTS) and lots of measurements (and we mean LOTS!).

Cinderella is going to be unique and exciting. It’s going to be a family focussed pantomime suitable for all the family with some really amazing wow moments, but played in the unique setting of a concert hall rather than a traditional proscenium arch theatre. It’s a blank space, and we have to take it from a space suitable for orchestras and choirs, to the magical, exciting and vibrant realm of pantomime.

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To create a project like this takes real team work, and each person doing their bit at the right time.

Initially it’s the job of Mark Walters, our designer, to come up with the concepts for the show. It’s his amazing vision which will bring the world of Cinderella alive. And to say that he held 8 adults utterly spellbound at the second production meeting on Monday 25th February is an absolute understatement. His ideas are remarkable, his concepts are ingenious, and his imagination is endless. We sat open mouthed as he described his vision for bringing Cinderella’s world to life.

Mark’s brief isn’t just to design the set, but also to bring the costuming to life, and again his thoughts and ideas were breath-taking.

We will let you into a bit more of the secret as the year progresses and Mark’s ideas start to turn from ideas on paper into set models and then finally into the reality of a full production.

In the meantime, the work continues. Cinderella at the Fairfield Halls is going to be an amazing experience. Don’t miss out, because trust us, if Mark’s design concepts are anything to go by, Cinderella really will go to the ball, and blow you away all at the same time.