Santa! The Panto
Friday 14th – Saturday 22nd December (7.30pm with 2.30pm matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. Matinee only on Sunday 16th, no show on Monday 17th)
Written and Directed By Paul Carr
Choreographed By Rebecca Dickinson
As part of the CADOS ‘premiere season’ we are staging a world premiere pantomime – Santa! The Panto. Set in the North Pole at Santa’s workshop the show follows the adventures of Chip the Elf as he tries to save Christmas from the evil schemes of Jackie Frost who is determined to get rid of Santa and keep Christmas for herself.
The show is a traditional pantomime complete with dame and all the slapstick and comedy business that you would expect from one of the festive favourites, but has a fresh storyline and characters ensuring that no one in the audience knows what is going to happen next! Because these characters are new it can be difficult to know what to audition for, but the majority of them follow stock pantomime traits:
Characters (in order of appearance)
Spirit of Christmas (F) A fairy who protects Christmas and the audience’s main link to the characters. Not necessarily a traditional fairy – could be a bit rough round the edges depending on how the actress wants to play it.
Santa (M) Plump bloke. Red suit! Extra padding available if necessary! – more important to have the warmth and friendliness of a traditional Santa.
Jacqueline Frost (F) A pixie who is Santa’s personal assistant and keeper of ‘The List’ – the baddie of the show but starts off as an unassuming secretary who later shows her evil side. Must have good audience rapport.
Chip (M) The hero. An elf who gets picked on by the others for his traditional techniques. Keeper of the pixie dust that allows Santa to transport down chimneys and through locked doors. In love with Snowflake. Whilst he is the male lead he is more of a ‘buttons’ character than a traditional heroic prince.
Blizzard (M) A ‘cool’ elf who likes the latest gadgets. Going out with Snowflake, and has the approval of Jackie, for whom he gets tricked into acting as a ‘henchman’ type. Very much in love with himself and thinks that everyone else should be too.
Snowflake (F) A sprite who is Jackie’s daughter and love interest for Chip, but is going out with Blizzard. The ‘princess’ character but with much more about her than a typical panto heroine.
Wrappit & Sackitt (M/F) Two elves (comedy duo) who work in the packing plant, wrapping presents and loading up the sleigh. Very efficient at what they do but also bumbling idiots when it comes to anything else. Need excellent comedy timing – lots of slapstick style scenes.
Mrs Claus (M) Santa’s mother. Traditional pantomime dame who keeps Santa (and the others, and the audience!) in check
Crystal (F) Another sprite and Snowflake’s best friend – very materialistic and is envious of Snowflake’s relationship with Blizzard. Mostly an airhead but with the odd flash of brilliance.
Elves Chorus A chorus of elves, made up of dancers and singers who also play a couple of smaller roles.
All the characters are roughly equal in terms of stage time, though Jackie has slightly more lines than others and Crystal, Snowflake and Spirit have slightly fewer lines. However there are no ‘bit’ parts in the main cast.
ALL of the company will be expected to sing and dance, and early rehearsals will focus on the musical numbers of the show to ensure that even the least confident singers and dancers are happy with this before the main rehearsals start. Formal dance training is not necessary (except for some dancers in the Elves chorus) nor do you need to be a trained singer.
Chip, Blizzard, Snowflake and Crystal take the bulk of the singing and need to be strong singers, whilst Mrs Claus, Jackie, Wrappit and Sackitt also need a fair singing voice for their musical numbers. For the rest of the cast the ability to hold a tune is a definite advantage but not absolutely essential.
The bulk of the chorus will be made up of dancers, with a few extras who play various smaller roles throughout the show. The chorus do not play much of a part outside of the musical numbers so being able to sing or dance well is essential, though you need to be prepared to attempt both!
Dance auditions will be held in the morning at the theatre on Sunday 16th September
Registration will take place at 10.30am for an 11am start to the audition. Dancers will be required to learn a short dance taught on the day of audition before performing on stage in small groups. We will endeavour to inform successful candidates on the day of audition or as soon as is possible thereafter. Formal dance training is recommended for all those wishing to audition.
You are also asked to bring a short singing audition piece so that we can assess your singing ability. Prepare a song of your choice (no longer than 1 verse and chorus) with a backing track on either CD or USB stick that demonstrates your singing However the main focus of the audition is your dancing ability – a willingness to try is the requirement for the singing.
Main cast auditions will be held in the afternoon at the theatre on Sunday 16th September
Registration will take place at 1.30pm for a 2pm start to the audition. You will be asked to perform short extracts from the script in the character you are auditioning for, which may be by yourself or reading opposite other auditionees in other roles to see how well combinations of people work. This part of the audition is looking at characterisation, confidence on the stage, and your interaction with other characters.
You are also asked to bring a singing audition of a song of your choice with a backing track on either CD or USB stick. You may sing whatever you want but bear in mind that the majority of the show’s soundtrack is modern pop songs and uptempo Christmas numbers so this is the type of song you need to show us that you can sing.
Finally you will be taught a short series of dance moves which you will practice and then perform on stage in small groups – as with the dancers singing audition it is an enthusiasm and willingness to try that we are particularly looking for over technical ability!
Notes for ALL auditionees
If you are 16 or under (cast or dancers) you must have a parent remain with you during the audition as we cannot be responsible for you at this time.
ALL members of the company must be available to perform at all 10 shows and remain throughout the performance each night or matinee.
By the end of the 16th September we want to be able to cast the show – therefore if anyone cannot make the 16th then please get in touch with us so that we can look at the possibility of giving you an earlier audition. We do not want to hold any auditions after 16th Sept unless in the unlikely event of us being unable to fully cast the show by then.
Rehearsals will begin with a couple of read-throughs and then focus on musical numbers working around the Elephant Man rehearsals until their show is over. Blocking rehearsals will begin after the Elephant Man closes on 27th October at which point our rehearsals will move to a regular Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun schedule up until the show.