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Behind the Scenes at Sleeping Beauty

By • Northeast
Whatsonstage.com Northeast , is always grateful to Producer Michael Harrison for allowing us access to technical rehearsals, press nights and backstage when his productions visit the region. This year, as usual, Michael is writing, directing and producing the Theatre Royal panto, Sleeping Beauty, which opens today.

Year on year, his smash hit pantos have broken box office records and next year, he brings back Clive Webb, Danny Adams and Chris Haywood once again (this time in Aladdin) to the Theatre Royal.

With only days to go before the opening, Michael allowed me to pop in to the technical rehearsals and we had a brief chat, in the Grand Circle, before he was once again back with microphone in hand, directing Act Two.

While not wanting to give anything away, we know there is a flying racing car involved in the show, and the lightening effects I witnessed were very effective. But, its really Danny, Clive and Chris who the audience return to see year after year. The Theatre Royal audiences know they have no need for big name stars as Michael and his performers not only understand panto and how to deliver it, but were all born with the Pantomime X Factor. This X Factor ensures Newcastle is repeatedly recognised as having the Number One panto in the Country.

As we talked, Michael revealed to me that already over fifteen thousand tickets have been sold for next year's show and this years was not even open.

With dancers going through their routine for Act Two, all wearing masks that that glowed and a chariot being prepared to take the wicked witch off stage, we left Michael to his directing.

Our appetite had certainly been wetted for press night, just a few nights away.


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