All posts tagged Families

Actor Chris Wills returns to The Deco Theatre this Christmas for his second Panto appearance as Prince Charming in Cinderella. He played the role successfully two and a half years ago, when The Deco put on its first Spring Panto, and is not only delighted to be doing it all again, but to be back in Northampton for a second successive year.

“Cinderella is a terrific Panto,” said Chris, who is originally from Wigan, in Lancashire, but now lives and works out of London. “I’m really excited to be back in Northampton, we’ve another great show, a fantastic cast again, and if the audiences are as wonderful as last year, then it’s going to be another wonderful Panto experience.

“The audiences generate a fantastic atmosphere: they make lots of noise, they’re interactive, and they all turn up with the purpose of having fun, and as a performer, that is exactly what we want!”

It has been a busy year for Chris, since he ended last year’s run of ‘Peter Pan’ at The Deco. For much of 2018 he has been on the road, travelling around the UK, Europe, and into Asia, performing in the touring production of Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice’.

“It’s been busy, it’s been fun and I’ve really enjoyed myself,” he said. “But it’s been intense, and doing Panto is obviously quite a contrast, though I’m very lucky as an actor to have a wide variety of opportunities.”

Chris will be starring in the Deco Panto alongside Lydia Lucy, Colin Ridgewell, Lee Bright, Clive Fletcher, Fern Roach, and Sammy Webb, who is also directing the show, his first at The Deco. “It’s another fantastic cast, Sam’s a great character on and off stage, and I’m really looking forward to working with him, his knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, Panto is awesome.

“The other thing which always really excites me is the consistently high standard of young, local performers who appear in Deco Panto’s as part of the Chorus, and once again I’m hearing how hard they’re working in preparation.

“Not only that, The Deco have a fantastic support staff behind the scenes; they really look after us and make us welcome; and for all of us, it becomes one big family for a month – and that includes the audiences!”

Chris is a perfect fit for Panto, as much of his work is with Children’s Theatre productions.

“I love it, and I love Panto,” he says. “Great Panto involves a good team, good songs, naff jokes and lots of fun, and that’s what we’ve got, and will be having, in our Cinderella show, and I can’t wait to get started.”

‘Cinderella’ runs at The Deco from December 8 to 30. For tickets: www.thedeco.co.uk, call the Box Office on 01604 491005, or pop by to The Deco, in Abington Square, between 10am and 4pm Monday to Saturday.

He’s Bright. He’s Buttons. And he’s back in Northampton this Christmas.

He’s Lee Bright. Bright by name, and bright by nature; you can guarantee he will be a bundle of energy and fun during The Deco Theatre’s run of its Christmas Panto, ‘Cinderella’, this December.

This will be Lee’s 15th successive year of doing Panto, and ‘Buttons’ is among his favourite roles. He is back at The Deco after four years, and cannot wait to get started.

“I was in Wizard of Oz in 2014; I loved being at The Deco, and returning for the official photo-shoot was just like coming home,” said Lee, who played Aladdin in Bognor Regis last year. “The team behind the scenes are all so lovely.

“But not only that, they are very professional and extremely well organised, they work so hard to put on a fantastic Panto every Christmas, and judging by all the wonderful reviews over the years, they do that very well.”

As a performer, Lee has worked all over the UK, including London’s West End, but says Panto is ‘without doubt’ his favourite time of the year.

“Christmas is magical, and going to a Panto is a wonderful experience for families,” he said. “As I kid I loved it, and as a performer I love making the experience as special now as it was for me way back when.”

And Lee will be hoping The Deco audience love Buttons this Christmas. He said: “Buttons is actually quite a challenging role – you want the audience to love him, but you don’t want to over-shadow the Prince, so it’s a fine line, but all part of the fun.”

Chris Wills is playing the Prince this Christmas, starring alongside Lee, Lydia Lucy, Colin Ridgewell, Sammy Webb, Fern Roach and Clive Fletcher, supported, as usual, by an awesome cast of young dancers.

Said Lee: “It’s a fantastic cast of talented people, who are all very easy to get along with, and I’m looking forward to working with them in December. For me, great Panto is a perfect blend of all the elements: a dame, good voices, choreography,  and bringing everyone together to work as a team.

“We have all that and more, including not just one, but two fantastic dames in Colin and Sammy, we all know that Lydia has an awesome singing voice, and once again The Deco has put together another talented cast.”

“The audiences are terrific at The Deco, and we really appreciate that people choose our Panto to come and see, which is another reason why it is so important to make sure they go away having had a magical time.”

Away from performing, Lee teaches others to follow in his footsteps through his business Bright-Starz, which he runs from his home town, Chesham. “I teach singing and acting on a one-to-one basis, and I also teach audition techniques, which is something that too often gets overlooked.

“I’ve done plenty of auditions myself in the past, and I’ve also sat on panels watching and judging auditions, so I’ve seen it all,” said Lee.

And though he loves teaching, he still loves being on stage himself just as much. Especially doing Panto’s at Christmas, which is great news for The Deco. We have no doubt the audiences will love Lee in ‘Cinderella’ as they did in ‘Wizard of Oz’ four years ago.

And one thing is for sure: there’ll never be a dull moment with Lee about!

 
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