It is almost time to share our biggest production of the year as we get ready to welcome thousands of families and friends and The Octagon comes alive for our busiest time of the year. Already over 22,000 people have snapped up their tickets for a magic carpet ride and the adventure of a lifetime with ‘Aladdin’.
Opening on Friday 7th December, rehearsals are well underway for Somerset’s biggest pantomime with 53 performances on their way. We are delighted to once again be working with Evolution Pantomimes, headed by Paul Hendy and Emily Wood, in bringing a traditional family pantomime to Yeovil. This year their talented team have once again worked extremely hard to put on a truly magnificent show we can be proud of.
The highlight of the year at The Octagon is always our pantomime season and it is my favourite time of the year as friends and families come together for their annual visit to the pantomime and share the laughter, joy and magic of live theatre.
We are delighted to welcome back the brilliantly funny Jack Glanville, Lizzie Frances, and local lads and childhood friends, Thom Ford and Jonny Purchase. We are so proud of the talent this area produces, often honed at The Octagon before going on to the West End, blockbuster films and work with the biggest entertainment companies and it always wonderful to welcome them back home for Christmas. Jonny has been performing in the West End production of ‘Les Miserables’ playing a variety of roles and even performing in the blockbuster film with High Jackman. Thom meanwhile has been working for the Walt Disney Company performing various roles on Disney Cruise Line. We are excited to introduce Gordon Cooper as the hilarious Widow Twankey, and to welcome George Akid, John Hester and the lovely Sorsha Talbot-Hunt who complete our lead cast. They are joined by a talented chorus of professional and local dancers who have all worked their socks off over the last few weeks to put together a truly spectacular show. Even more exciting is the news that our Aladdin and Jasmine, Jonny and Sorcha, recently celebrated their real life engagement – our Aladdin and Jasmine really are getting married!
Over the last few weeks every inch of the building (and Westlands) has been taken over with the cast rehearsing, learning lines, songs, dance routines and making us and each other laugh. ‘Aladdin’ is one of my favourite pantomimes because it is one of the funniest. The characters and story lend themselves to comedy and Paul Hendy always ensures our pantomime has plenty of good humour, drama and fun.
As you know each year we try to introduce a new spectacle, something our audience has never seen at The Octagon before, and once again we have something very special planned for ‘Aladdin’. From flying horses, giant beanstalks and even bigger giants, fire breathing dragons and enchanted bathrooms we love exceeding our audiences expectations and the challenge to bring something new and exciting gives us the impetus to keep moving forward.
From the technical team, to the Front of House staff and Foyer Club volunteers who will welcome around 30,000 guests until the show closes on Sunday 6th January, it really is a huge team effort to make the season a success.
Photo credit: Len Copland