It's panto time in Shoreham!
Nick Beat is relishing the prospect of his first acting job since the pandemic – the comic role of Wishy Washy in Aladdin at Shoreham’s Ropetackle.
The fun runs from Friday, December 10-Friday, December 31 as full-scale pantomime returns to the venue.
There’s a great sense of relief all round, with pantos so crucial a part of the year for theatres up and down the country.
“I have worked pretty regularly in pantomime on and off for the last few years but obviously wasn’t able to do anything last Christmas because of the pandemic.
“But actually I was quite lucky in that I was able to do the day job that I do when I’m not performing which is working in HR for a nightclub promotions company.
“And I also teach dance and drama so I managed to get through the pandemic somehow.
“But I also tried every single different hobby that I could think of just to pass the time though as I say I was lucky enough to have some money coming in.
“I took up learning Spanish and that’s the only one that I’ve carried on with.
“I tried baking but that was absolute disaster.
“You watch the Bake Off and it seems so simple and then you try it at home and… well, most of what I did ended up in the bin.
“Most of it really wasn’t edible.
“ I also tried some online yoga classes.
“It was alright but I didn’t really have the patience for that and I know yoga is all about patience!
“I also tried some crochet but I think I did about ten stitches and never picked up the needle again!”
So it is brilliant to finally get back to acting.
This is Nick’s first job with the producers LP Creatives.
“I saw a post on their Facebook page and I was following them for a while because someone else I knew had done a panto with them before.
“I asked my agent to put me forward and I was lucky enough to get the job.
“The impression I got from the company is that it produces really good-quality pantos and I just liked the vibe that I got.
“You get an impression and it really appealed to me. I could see that they were a friendly company, a really open company and the pantos that they produce are great.
“My last panto before this was 2019, just before the pandemic, and that was a touring panto which went into schools.
“ The tour went on for five months so it was quite a long slog.
“We started in September and went through until the January but the great thing about going into schools is that it is an audience which is 100 per cent children.
“You just get this amazing wall of sound coming back at you and I can’t wait to hear that again in Shoreham.
“It will be wonderful especially as this is my first acting job since the pandemic.
“I think a really good pantomime has got to have something for everybody, and that’s the great thing about panto with the stock characters each catering for a different part of the audience. You have got the dame telling the slightly more risqué jokes for the adults and you’ve got the comic, the role that I’m playing that the kids are supposed to attach to.
“You’ve got the princess that all the little girls attach to and you’ve got Aladdin that all the boys are supposed to look up to so I think the point is that it caters for everybody.
“I live in Canterbury. It is about two hours away.
“I will stay in Shoreham which will be really nice and then I will drive home to Canterbury on Christmas Eve and see my family and then drive back to Shoreham early on Boxing Day.
“It will be a short visit but I will still get to see everyone which will be lovely – and to be home for Christmas.”
Tickets from the venue