Promising to liven up the greyest of January days in Swanage in Dorset, the cast of the pantomime Cinderella at The Mowlem is now rehearsing in the theatre as it gets closer to opening night.
With tickets selling faster in 2024 than for last year’s panto (oh yes they are!), it’s likely that Swanage Drama Company will be performing to full houses throughout the run, which is on selected days from Friday 12th to Saturday 20th January 2024.
The cast of Cinderella rehearsing on stage at The Mowlem
“Plenty of jokes, laughs, dancing and singing”
The auditions were held in September 2023 and for many months, the cast has been working hard learning lines, songs and dance routines at the rehearsal room at Swanage Bay View.
However, as it gets nearer to curtain-up, the performers are rehearsing on stage at The Mowlem.
Hannah Chelton who’s starring as Prince Charming said:
“It’s all coming together – we’ll now get to go through the performance with all the lights, sound and special effects. It really makes us realise just how close it is to opening night.
“It’s going to be a fun family show with plenty of jokes, laughs, dancing and singing. It’ll certainly lift the spirits and magic away the January blues!
Getting into the panto spirit at The Mowlem
The ugly sisters played by James Chelton (left) and David Wellstead-Arnold (right) with Buttons played by Anthony Ayles (centre)
Two panto dames, Sam and Ella!
The director is Victoria Jones, who’s bringing a fresh take to the traditional fairy story with new jokes and songs.
And in this version there’s two panto dames, who are the ugly sisters played by David Wellstead-Arnold and James Chelton. Despite not being the latest newsworthy virus, the ugly sisters are called Sam and Ella.
“It’s an old joke about Sam and Ella but it’s still funny, so we’ve left that in. We have made a change by creating the role of the baroness, played by Ro Smith, who is fantastically evil and really great!
“She plays opposite the baron played by Tom Eastcott-Jones, the father of the ugly sisters who is a real pushover and can’t say no to his wife. It brings a whole new level to the show.
“I’m playing Prince Charming, so I’ve been working on my thigh slapping to impress Cinderella, played by Holly Gates. One of my favourite bits is the duet between Cinderella and the fairy godmother played by Laura Jolly. They are both great singers and together it’s a real treat.
“I must mention Buttons, played by Anthony Ayles. He’s just amazing and really brings the playful and lovable spirit of Buttons to life!”
Duet with the fairy godmother and Cinderella is a treat
Cinderella played by Holly Gates (left) and the fairy godmother played by Laura Jolly (right)
Behind the scenes
Brian Travers who has brilliantly played Swanage’s panto dame for many years and directed the panto over even more years, is still involved but is taking a back seat this year.
“We miss Brian performing but he’s helping behind the scenes in the wings. He’s been a big support throughout the process and is still very much part of the panto team.”
Prince Charming played by Hannah Chelton (left) with Buttons and Cinderella
Hannah Chelton as Prince Charming (left) is happy that the show is all coming together with rehearsals at The Mowlem!
Cinderella’s fairy godmother bringing the magic to Swanage!
One hundred percent glamour!
Cinderella is often considered a popular audience pleaser because of the glittering ballroom scenes at the royal palace, made possible by all those creating the stage sets and costumes.
“There are so many more people involved in bringing the panto to the stage. Mary Buck has made more amazing costumes and Cinderella’s coach made by the props team promises to be quite a show stopper, plus all the talented lighting and sound crew making everything more sparkly.
“Oh yes, it’s going to be 100 percent glamour – bringing all the magic to Swanage!”
- Cinderella evening performances at 7.30 pm on Friday 12th, Saturday 13th, Friday 19th and Saturday 20th January 2024
- Cinderella matinee performances at 2 pm on Saturday 13th and Saturday 20th January 2024
- Book tickets at The Mowlem box office or via the website