Cinderella Is Throwing Us Into a Spin-derella!

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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