An abundance of costumes, custom lights, scenic artists, music scores and a multitude of children singing, dancing and acting, all pulled together by an array of bewildered adults - this can only mean only one thing; it’s FINALLY Panto time again in Ballinasloe! B’sloe Panto are back after a three-year break to bring their production of “Cinderella” to Ballinasloe Town Hall Theatre from the 5th to the 11th of December.
For many people the Panto has become part of a Christmas tradition in town, whether that be taking part or as a loyal returning member of the audience, and all are delighted to be able to welcome it back this year. B’sloe Panto’s production crew have been working tirelessly since August to bring their latest show from an idea to the stage. There are costumes to source, sets to design and build, special effects to be planned and brought in from overseas, countless dance routines to be choreographed, posters to be designed and printed and tickets to sell just to name a few - the list really does go on and on! And that’s all on top of countless rehearsals! “It takes a lot of careful planning and organisation but the results are always worth it. Our goal is always to bring a thoroughly entertaining show to the stage, from the music to the special effects, we really want it to be a show that has something for everyone; kids and parents alike!” they tell us.
This year’s cast features an assortment of Panto staples along with many new faces. The title role of Cinderella will be played by TY student Abaigh Hardiman. Abaigh has been taking part in Panto since she was 6 years old, and played the part of the Fairy in the last Panto, “Rapunzel”. Panto veteran, Pat Vaughan, takes on the role of Buttons, Cinderella’s best friend and palace jester. Mike O’Reilly will play the role of Cinderella’s dad, The King, who makes an unfortunate choice by marrying Voluptua, the quintessential evil step mother. Sharon Dooley, who has been involved backstage in many pervious productions as a make-up artist will be making her Panto stage debut in this role.
Two more Panto newcomers complete the family as Gorgon and Zola, the ugly stepsisters played by Des Grealis and Doireann Gilmore, respectively. No panto would be complete without a Prince, and 6th year Garbally student Brendan Rice will be playing this royal part. He will be joined by Saidhbhe Concannon, who is no stranger to the stage having taken part in multiple Panto’s and most recently was involved in Ardscoil Mhuire’s TY production “A Night at the Musicals” earlier this year. She takes on the role of Dandini, the Princes’ footman. Poppy Farrell, a TY student in Roscommon Community College, will be playing the part of the Court Announcer. The cast is rounded off by another newcomer, Ornaigh Gavin, who fulfils Cinderella’s wish to go to the ball by being her Fairy Godmother.
This year’s production team is made up of some very talented individuals. Ria Purcell, who has been involved with Panto for a number of years will be choreographing the entire cast of “Cinderella”. Ria is a very experienced performer and choreographer, who has worked on numerous shows and runs her own dance school, Milkshake Dance & Performance Academy. She has been very busy since the end of September rehearsing several dances with over 180 kids and young people. The accomplished Dave Hardiman, who has over 25 years theatre experience both on and off the stage, takes the helm as director for this year’s show. And last but not least, the production crew is rounded off by the extremely talented musical direction of John Roe who is delighted to be working with the Panto cast and crew once again.
B’sloe Panto’s production of “Cinderella” will be running from December 5th to 11th in Ballinasloe Town Hall Theatre. The show begins nightly at 7.30pm with two fancy dress matinees on Saturday and Sunday (December 10th and 11th, respectively) at 2.30pm, where both children and adults alike are invited to come in outfits fit for the Panto stage with prizes for the best dressed! Tickets are available online (find B’sloe Panto on Facebook or Instagram for more information) and from the Panto booking office at J&S Photos on Society Street, drop in or call 09096 31566 to get yours! They will also be available on the door; however, pre-booking is advised!
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