Fairfield Halls, Croydon gets set for a 'Strictly' sensational pantomime!

Imagine Theatre and Fairfield Halls, Croydon are delighted to announce that TV star and Strictly Come Dancing winner Ore Oduba will be making his pantomime debut as Dandini in this year’s family pantomime, Cinderella.


Ore will be known to audience members young and old from his many TV appearances including The One ShowThis Morning and of course winning the fourteenth series of Strictly Come Dancing with his partner Joanne Clifton. Ore will be joined by the previously announced comedian Tim Vine as Buttons and CBeebies presenter Cat Sandion as Fairy Godmother.


Ore says:- ‘I have been wanting to do pantomime for a long time and when this opportunity came up I just couldn’t say no. Not only is it alongside two of my pals Tim and Cat who I have worked with before, but I also can’t wait to appear in the first pantomime at the newly refurbished Fairfield Halls. 


Although it’ll be a new experience for me, many people will know I’m rarely happier than when I’m on stage singing and dancing. And, of course, anyone who’s seen me and Craig Revel Horwood on the Strictly Live Tour (often in a precarious position!) will know I do love a bit of Panto. With this cast and creative team - and some amazing audiences in Croydon - I know there’ll be a lot of laughs along the way. I can’t wait to get started’.

 

Producer Steve Boden says:- ‘Ore was the perfect addition to the star line-up for our pantomime at the Fairfield Halls and we are thrilled that he’s making his pantomime debut with us. He will be amazing as Dandini. Along with Tim and Cat I think this pantomime really does deliver something for everyone and is perfect family entertainment for the festive season. We promise that this is going to be a spectacular show and we are busy working on a brand new production especially for the Croydon audiences. Everyone will be able to enjoy this show from small children right up to grandparents, because that is what pantomime is all about, creating memories with the family’.

The eagerly awaited refurbished Fairfield Halls opens in September and the pantomime will be at the heart of the Autumn/Winter season.

Will the evil Ugly Sisters thwart the path of true love for Cinderella and her Prince Charming or will her Fairy Godmother help save the day? Bring the whole family along to the Fairfield Halls this Christmas to find out, you’ll have a ball!

Cinderella runs from 10th December 2019 to 5th January 2020.

TV Star & Strictly Come Dancing Champion Ore Oduba has his invitation to the Ball in Croydon this Christmas!

TV Star & Strictly Come Dancing Champion Ore Oduba has his invitation to the Ball in Croydon this Christmas!

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Cinderella stars Ore Oduba as Dandini, Comedian Tim Vine as Buttons, CBeebies Cat Sandion as the Fairy Godmother and Jason Marc-Williams and Alistair Barron as the Ugly Sisters

Cinderella stars Ore Oduba as Dandini, Comedian Tim Vine as Buttons, CBeebies Cat Sandion as the Fairy Godmother and Jason Marc-Williams and Alistair Barron as the Ugly Sisters

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

Open Auditions for Junior Dancers for Cinderella at Fairfield Halls

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On Sunday 30 June Fairfield Halls will be holding open auditions for children to be part of the Junior Ensemble in their magical family pantomime Cinderella.

The auditions are open to boys and girls aged 9-16 in school years 4-11 at the time of the production and those successful in obtaining a part in the show will be starring alongside comedian Tim Vine and CBeebies’ Cat Sandion.

Steve Boden, Managing Director of Imagine Theatre who are producing the pantomime, says “this will not only be our first time producing panto in Croydon, but the first pantomime to take place in the newly refurbished Fairfield Halls which is very exciting.”

“We will be looking for 3 teams of children to take part in the show, and as well as dancing ability we look for children who have that special something extra that makes them stand out from the crowd.”

“We like to hold open auditions as it gives any child of the right age who wishes to take part a chance, regardless if they attend a dance school or have any previous experience, this audition is open to everybody and it’s a great opportunity for children from the local community to get involved and appear at this amazing theatre.”

“Performing in a professional production is a fabulous and rewarding opportunity for the children and is always a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of hard work.”

Full details on the auditions, including further information on age and attendance requirements and regulations, as well as the application forms can be found on Fairfield Halls website or www.imaginetheatre.co.uk. Application forms do not need to be submitted in advance although where possible please complete them beforehand and bring with you to save time on audition day.

Please note that due to the refurbishment of Fairfield Halls the auditions are taking place at Braithwaite Hall in Katherine Street.

Cinderella runs from 10th December 2019 to 5th January 2020.

Tickets start from £15 and are already on sale so grab your tickets to the best ball in town!

Online – Fairfield.co.uk

Phone – 0203 292 0002

Groups 10+ - 0203 292 003

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.

Pantomime returns to the Fairfield Halls, Croydon with Cinderella starring Tim Vine and Cat Sandion

Fairfield Halls in Croydon are teaming up with production company Imagine Theatre to bring the most magical pantomime of them all, Cinderella, to Croydon audiences in December 2019.

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The eagerly awaited refurbished Fairfield Halls opens in September and the pantomime will be at the heart of the Autumn/Winter season. The family pantomime will star comedian Tim Vine as Buttons and CBeebies star Cat Sandion as the Fairy Godmother.

Tim Vine is a comedian and presenter, known for his one-liner jokes, and his role on Not Going Out. Tim frequently sells out his stand-up tours and has released a number of DVDs of his comedy and has written several joke books. In 2010 and 2014, Vine won the award for best joke at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. His many TV appearances include The Royal Variety Show; ITV’s ‘The Sketch Show’ which won a BAFTA. He appeared in 5 series of the award-winning sitcom ‘Not Going Out’ and he played Beach the Butler in series two of Blandings. Other TV shows include Live at the Apollo, Q.I, winning Celebrity Mastermind, hosting ITV game show ‘Don’t Blow The Inheritance, a regular on Celebrity Squares, a regular on Countdown’s Dictionary Corner. And for Comic Relief he appeared on ‘Fame Academy’, dancing on ‘Let’s Dance’ as Justin Timberlake and playing darts on ‘Let’s Play Darts’ as well as popping up in a Downton Abbey spoof. And on Celebrity Total Wipeout he fell off everything! He is one of this generations best comedians and is perfect for panto with his family friendly humour.

Cat Sandion will be instantly recognisable to the younger members of the audience. Cat is one of the leading presenters on the BAFTA Award winning channel CBeebies is best known for her singing and dancing, she brings her energetic moves and catchy songs to many pre-schoolers and parents alike with her hit show Magic Door! Cat has been a firm favourite on CBeebies over the past few years, besides her residency in the CBeebies house she has also been a part of numerous shows and pantos most notably with her roles as Alice in Alice and Wonderland and Tinker Bell in Peter Pan and also as a main character in the hugely successful Justin's House.

Producer for Imagine Theatre, Steve Boden says ‘We are absolutely thrilled to have been asked to produce the pantomime at the Fairfield Halls. We have secured a brilliant and highly experienced creative team coupled with the casting of Tim and Cat, this show is already shaping up to be an absolutely spectacular show which will be suitable for all the family. We hope to bring a show that has everything, a magical story, big song and dance numbers, hilarious slapstick comedy, bags of audience participation and some special effects that have never been seen in pantomime before. There will also be some further star casting announced later in the year so watch this space’.

Neil Chandler, General Manager of the Fairfield Halls, Croydon says:- “It was always important to us that pantomime, being historically such a large part of the Fairfield program, was relevant and exciting for both the Croydon audience and our wider community. Our partnership with Imagine Theatre allows us to create a pantomime that is exclusive to and reflective of our diverse borough. Just as many other London boroughs have steered away from the formulaic brand of pantomime we are surrounded by we are proudly presenting what will be a very traditional and family focused production”

The show will be directed by George Wood, formerly Associate Producer of First Family Entertainment. During his career George has worked on over 200 pantomimes. George has directed numerous pantomimes including Cinderella at the Manchester Opera House and the Milton Keynes Theatre, Sleeping Beauty at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley, Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley.

Cinderella will be designed by Mark Walters. Mark is a well-established professional theatre designer, working in the industry for over 20 years and with a highly regarded reputation for his pantomime designs at theatres throughout the UK.

Choreographer on the pantomime is Lynne Thomas. Born and educated in Croydon Lynne went on to achieve the inaugural first class BA honours degree at London Studio Centre.  Working as a dancer and dance captain she travelled the world with the award winning Princess Cruises production shows.  Time in the original West End production of ‘The Producers’ and subsequent tour was followed by tv commercials, west end choreography, children’s television and choreographing the 90th festival of Remembrance with the BBC.  This is Lynne’s 10th year teaching and heading the dance programme at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, as well as choreographing the annual BA MT course musical and end of year West End showcase.

Will the evil Ugly Sisters thwart the path of true love for Cinderella and her Prince Charming or will her Fairy Godmother help save the day? Bring the whole family along to the Fairfield Halls this Christmas to find out, you’ll have a ball!

Cinderella runs from 10th December 2019 to 5th January 2020.

Tickets start from £15 and go on sale today

Online – Fairfield.co.uk

Phone – 0203 292 0002