Day 14 in the Big Harrogate Theatre

By Tim Stedman

A very bitty day.  Notes and cuts from the director plus tightening sections of Act 1.  Lots of dance and fight practising – for which all clothing remained intact.

And costume fittings.  My fetching little number designed by the talented Philip Whitcombe provides me with the instant, unsubtle, friendly impact I need but led me to return to the rehearsal room and change my first entrance.

First impressions are important for all; for the idiot, comic (I guess ‘silly billy’ sums it up best) I essentially serve the interests of the children.  If they don’t like me from the start it’s so much harder to retain their interest and enthusiasm.  At 3 and 4 years old visuals and vocal tone are hugely important.

Lara (Aladdin), Liz (So Shy), Gordon (Widow Twankey) and I went to assist the switching on of the Harrogate lights extravaganza by singing a couple of songs.  Having done 9 pantos here before a few children recognised me and came up to say hello.  Not one of them called me Wishee, or Buttons (my character from last year) or Pickles, Muddles etc.  Every child called me Silly Billy.

So I guess Silly Billy does sum it up best.

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