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Behind the Scenes at the Panto!

It’s that time of year again… the panto is back in Norwich! It’s all becoming very real this week at the Theatre Royal, as the cast begins their rehearsals for Sleeping Beauty, ready for the curtain to rise on Dec 9.


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On the first day of being together, The Queen (Richard Gauntlett) and The Princess (Millie O’Connell) gave an insight into bringing the magic alive, as well as how things are going so far, and what they are looking forward to.

This isn’t Richard or Millie’s first rodeo in Norwich. Richard has been gracing the stage for 23 Christmases, bringing the magic alive for thousands of families. He said that “he doesn’t know anything different”, and that it’s “nice to come back to every year.” Millie also shares that same love for the city, being an original cast member of the Norwich born production, ‘Six!’. Despite having worked in the West End and touring the country, she says that “I have a lot of core memories here in Norwich, I’m really happy here, something always pulls me back.”

Millie was also “sold” just by reading the script, written by Joe Tracini, playing the Good Fairy in the production. She said, “I’m really excited to bring the audience act two of this Sleeping Beauty because it’s a fairy’s tale, so I think they’re going to think one thing, but Joe and that magic hand of his have written up something incredible.”

There are two weeks of rehearsals, and the cast members have only just met each other, but are already “a nice big Christmas family”, said Richard. Millie described the people as “amazing”, asking the director, “who cast this show? They’re such wonderful, kind people who work hard already.”

The pair, playing mother and daughter for the season, both have panto in their hearts.

“I think there’s something about when you look out to the audience you can break the fourth wall, so you’re able to be with the people: ask the audience questions, be immersive, be interactive, and you get so much gain, like when you get the first little toddlers coming to panto and you watch their eyes – like oh my goodness this is wild!” said Millie.

The excitement is growing and growing at Norwich Theatre. “The whole thing is spectacular” says Richard, and something not to miss!

Sleeping Beauty, the Fairy’s Tale is at Norwich Theatre Royal, Dec 9 – Jan 7

Tickets via Box Office, on 01603 630 000 or through the click below.