Richard Gauntlett has been a part of Norwich Theatre’s pantomime for 23 years. He talks to us about playing the Dame and what he loves about Norfolk that keeps him coming back year after year!
Tell us about your favourite memory you have had of Norfolk over the 23 years?
Do you know I really can’t single out a memory. That would be impossible. This is my 23rd panto at Norwich Theatre, and I have many wonderful memories of meeting many different actors, musicians, and dancers and I have a favourite memory from every single year.
I suppose I should say my greatest memory is one particular run of Cinderella. I had met Cinderella, in Beauty and The Beast in London, and we re-met here, and romance blossomed – yes reader, I married her!
What do you think is the best landmark?
It has to be Norwich Castle because when you say there is a castle somewhere, you often question whether it is a castle. However, Norwich Castle is the castle you draw as a four year old: it is a square castle with lovely square windows and a turrety top, and it is a perfect castle on a hill.
What has been the best attraction you have visited?
I remember years and years ago going to Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure and I love the park and everything about dinosaurs. That was before dinosaurs got big, they are huge at the moment. I can remember going around the dinosaur park and having a fantastic time with the kids.
Come on tell us where does the Dame wind down after a night on the stage?
I am not a great pub-goer, but I have often popped in for a ginger beer in the Coach and Horses on Bethel Street. It is the theatre pub, and it is the one I always remember. It has been owned by some lovely people who I have got to know over the years. It has always been welcoming and is a great place to meet your friends after a show.
What is your favourite beach?
My favourite beach has to be Cromer. I have spent a lot of time there as I did two summer seasons at Cromer Pier. I am not a great one for sunbathing, but I like to get a little umbrella, a packed lunch and a good book, and I can sit on the beach for as long as it takes me to read the book.
What do you think is the best export from Norfolk?
That is tricky. Obviously, mustard. I am a big fan of English Mustard and have it on everything. When I first started doing pantos here, I remember the old chocolate factory behind the theatre. So if chocolate came from here, thank you very much! Being a bit of a petrolhead, I love Lotus sports cars. I have had a couple in my day. I am not a racer, but I love a nice car to drive on a Sunday.
How excited are you about Sleeping Beauty: The Fairy’s Tale?
I am absolutely thrilled to be returning to my Christmas home from home for the 23rd year – and with a promotion! At last, I shall be playing The Queen!
Tell us a bit about the show.
Get ready to see the other side of Sleeping Beauty, the Fairy’s Tale. The Queen and the Good Fairy, played by Joe Tracini, embark on a journey to save our Sleeping Beauty, with a prince in tow and despite the efforts of the Evil Fairy, who is played by Beverley Callard. You might know her as Liz McDonald in Coronation Street.
Sleeping Beauty: The Fairy’s Tale is at Norwich Theatre Royal between 9 Dec – 7 Jan. You can make your pantomime experience extra special with Prelude’s festive menu for both adults and children. Throughout the panto season, any child under the age of 12 will receive a child’s main course and dessert free.