On the eve of the opening performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, we caught up with director Daniel Woodhouse to talk about his career and all things Pantomime.
Panto takes place for three weeks in December, what are you doing the rest of the year?
My main job is as the floor director for Channel 4 Racing. I’m outside in all weathers, directing Clare Balding and setting up interviews. The horse racing calendar is very busy but at this time of year I take three weeks off to go back to my theatrical roots.
Tell us about your theatrical background
From the age of ten I was performing in musical theatre productions at my local theatre in Aldershot and have been involved in pantomime in some way ever since. I was lucky enough to work with a theatre technical crew when on university holidays, and I’ve played all the familiar panto parts over the years, from Peter Pan and Wishy Washy to Simple Simon and Muddles . I started young, just like the 39 local children in the chorus in Spalding this Christmas. Who knows where they could be in ten years’ time?
With 11 professional actors in the Snow White cast, how do you adapt your style when directing the local children’s chorus?
We dedicate a couple of weekends to the children’s rehearsals when we have the time to go over the lines and cues until we get it right. The professional cast are not around at that point so I step in to play all of the principle parts. Then about a week before opening, both professional cast and chorus start rehearsing together and everything slots into place.
Is there anything extra special to look out for this year?
As well as all the favourite traditional elements of pantomime, I am a strong advocate of lots of panto sparkle, and of integrating modern audio visual effects into the show. Watch out for this year’s magic mirror!
Do you have a message for the audience?
To remember that your participation is just as important as the cast’s, so come with a smile on your face, and you are sure to leave with a much bigger one!
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs runs until January 2, 2014 at the South Holland Centre, Spalding.