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​News In Focus Blog | Stage Fright

22nd November 2016
Matt Freeman, News In Focus

News In Focus Blog | Stage Fright 

Ever since year eight at secondary school (2003 to show my age), I’ve had a passion for Drama and performing, which probably explains how I ended up in the Radio Industry! That passion always gets ignited when I attend events, such as the Christmas Lights Switch On, or when I visit holiday parks with my family.

It’s the buzz from entertaining people that gets me, which is why when I was invited along to meet the cast of “Peter Pan” at Mansfield Palace Theatre last week for this week’s News In Focus (I’m sitting in for Matt whilst he covers for Watko who enjoys a well-earned break) – I was left with two feelings.

The first was an excitement about going to see the show, but the second was overwhelming jealously of all the cast – who get paid for being daft and entertaining on stage, day in, day out! Where on earth do I sign up!

I walked into the Theatre’s green room and straight away had the buzz, that’s before I met any of the cast or creative crew. After a couple of minutes daydreaming (basically of me goofing around on stage), I was introduced to the guys who work behind the scenes and was hit by the feeling that everything was so manic – yet so calm! 

There was a company director frantically organising schedules, a wardrobe mistress stitching costumes together (how she didn’t stab herself I don’t know!), a musical director humming tunes and scribbling them down. Dancers pounded the floor above as they went through show numbers and the cast glided with a smile re-running lines to themselves. 

Hopefully this week’s show captures that, I’ve been to so many shows throughout the years where people sit during the interval or whatever and comment on how good the show is, but don’t get to see how much effort actually goes into making it happen – I’m really keen to put that across this week.

Everyone I met was great, from the cast Rosie Needham (Wendy), Natalie Hollingworth (Tiger Lilly) & Jessica Punch (Peter) we’re extremely talkative, although Jessica wouldn’t reveal any secrets about the magic, she’s played Peter for years though so perhaps she’s just very good at getting into character. 

Hayley-Jo Whitney (Mrs Darling & the Mermaid) gave me a real insight into what the cast were like to work with and had a lot of praise for the local youngsters who appear as part of the cast whilst Marc Baylis (Captain Hook & Mr Darling) was a real laugh and VERY excited about being the baddy!

Sadly I didn’t get time to chat to Adam Moss (Smee) or Holly Atterton (Tinkerbell) as they were both busy, but since recording the show, I’ve seen them both at the Christmas Lights back stage and they fit into the image I had of the group – energetic and ready to give there everything! 

Curtain up is on Saturday and from peeking behind the scenes, I can already tell this year’s Panto is going to be beyond magical – in fact myself & Marc Baylis did joke about getting some of the 103.2 gang up on stage during press night for a bit of improve – I’d love that but in reality, I’d probably get stage fright – that or get chased out of town by the lovely cast for upstaging them! (Oh no you wouldn’t….)

I don’t know what it is, I enjoy doing silly voices and telling bad jokes – anything that gets a chuckle and a smile makes me happy. I know next year’s Panto is already in planning, so if you’re looking to cast someone local who has a range of bad jokes and accents I’m your man.

Jason Harrison will vouch for my accent range during Sports Beat shows off air – My Jamie McGuire is a perfected act! 

Anyway, I’d better go – I hope you enjoy News In Focus this Thursday, as I go behind the scenes of Peter Pan with the cast and crew. Thanks again for having me guys and if you need me, you have my number…  

Craig. 


For more on News In Focus click on the picture below.

In Focus

In the countdown to Christmas, Our 'In Focus' show is back every Thursday with Craig Priest 6-7pm taking a look at Charity and Community events and the work such groups do, in the run up to Christmas