Page to Stage Winners Experience

Avara-sponsored Page to Stage competition winners Ken & Mary Hurstbourne share their experiences of the creative process that is panto production fortnight at The Courtyard, from read-through to Press Night and everything in between!

Having been lucky enough to win the competition, it was with some trepidation that we approached our first meeting with the Peter Pan cast. How would they feel having two ‘intruders’ watching them at various stages of the creative process?

This first meeting was the ‘Meet and Greet’ and first ‘Read-Through’ in mid-November when the professional actors arrive in Herefordshire for rehearsals. The cast were having coffee and cakes and we were offered some too, then introduced to the cast and members of the creative and production teams. Even before going into the Read-Through we had chatted to some of the group and were starting to feel at ease.
At the read-through, the child actors were not there so various people read their parts including musical director, Henry, who became one of the three Darling children, John. Parts of it made no sense to us but would become clear later.

Our next visit was 10 days later to see the first run-through. This was still in the Garrick room with no costumes or songs but with the two children’s casts. This went well apart from Tinkerbell crashing off her bike. The first of many bruises, especially for the three ‘flying’ actors… the flying is not as easy as they make it appear!

A week later was the Dress Rehearsal and Ken became Ms. Smee’s focus of attention – what fun! This was where the ‘no sense’ bits in the Read-Through and Run-Through became clear.

Ken & Mary Avara Winners

Finally, in early December, an actual performance. An auditorium full of adults and children expecting to be entertained. They were not disappointed but, unlike us, were not aware of all the changes that had taken place during the two-week rehearsal process.

During the various visits we felt more and more a part of the ‘Peter Pan Family’ and have become more aware of all the hard work that goes into the production, all the back stage crew, lighting, sound, and anyone else that we’ve missed out.

To sum up, a thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining and informative experience.

PETER PAN will be in The Courtyard’s Main House from Saturday 1 December to Saturday 12 January. To book tickets for Peter Pan click here, or for more information contact the Box Office on 01432 340555.

Peter Pan is sponsored by Avara.

The Courtyard Hereford - Avara Foods