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Rise and Shine: Sleeping Beauty, the Fairy’s Tale Director Talks Panto

Chris Cuming Director of Sleeping Beauty, The Fairy’s Tale woke up early this morning to talk all things panto. No spoilers, we promise!   

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Chris Cuming Director of Sleeping Beauty, The Fairy’s Tale woke up early this morning to talk all things panto. No spoilers, we promise!

What are you excited about directing this year’s panto? 

I am really excited about directing this year’s panto. After Jack and the Beanstalk last year, I feel like I really understand the Norwich Theatre audiences and what they need and want at Christmas time. I am excited to bring Sleeping Beauty, The Fairy’s Tale to Norwich and give the story of Sleeping Beauty a bit of a twist and gear everyone up for Christmas this year.  

What is your favourite thing about pantomime? 

I love the interaction the cast has with the audience. They become another character in the show. They are not just there; they are part of the story, the world, and the journey these audiences go on. That, for me, means everything, and I love that.  

If you could direct any panto, what would it be and why? 

Oooh! Cinderella is a classic, so that would be up there. But my absolute ultimate pantomime story is Peter Pan. I adore Peter Pan. I love it. I think I am Peter Pan, and it is possibly the most incredible story ever.  

How do you move the art form on whilst still respecting the traditions? 

I think the traditions of panto are in all kinds of set routines, the gags and the laughs, and those are true to us all in the rawest, heartfelt state. They are always going to be there. I think you can push panto on by listening to what is happening in the world and what people are feeling about the world. One of the beating hearts or central characters of pantomime is that the audience is of now or the show needs to be of today. In my opinion, it all kind of naturally ties itself together from there.   

How do you start planning a panto? 

We started planning the panto a year in advance, so we have actually already started planning the 2024/25 panto. It is like a year-long process, from script ideas, script development, production development, and design ideas through to casting. It is quite a long process, really, but it means you get to live Christmas all year round. What could be better than that?  

Sleeping Beauty, The Fairy’s Tale … tell us more? 

It is being told from the Good Fairy’s point of view, who you will have seen, is being played by Joe Tracini this year. It is the Good Fairy’s story about this world that Sleeping Beauty lives in, and he takes us on the journey of the real story of Sleeping Beauty. And it is not what you think … I won’t tell you much more than that. But, it is not what you think that happens!  

What is different in this year’s panto compared to previous years? 

Last year, there was a big giant, but another surprise this year is equally as big. All the same joy, lots of slapstick, and more slosh than ever before!  

Can you give us a hint of what to expect? 

This year you can expect lots of magic, hilarity, fun, silliness, and some humble and joyful moments. We will have the big spectacle, but we will also have the nuanced heart that Norwich really prides itself on.  

Sleeping Beauty, The Fairy’s Tale is on at Norwich Theatre Royal between 9 Dec – 7 Jan. For more information or to book, click the link below or call the Box Office on 01603 630 000.     

Don’t forget you can spread the cost of your pantomime tickets with Panto Payments.