Celebrating our Panto Heroes

Panto Heroes - Picture of James Hameed as Aladdin riding his guitar which is lit up with neon lights

After four weeks of rehearsal, seven weeks of shows, culminating in 70 performances to over 31,000 audience members and more “it’s behind you’s” than we can count, our record-breaking panto Aladdin has come to an end.

To make it through this season in the midst of Omicron without cancelling a single show is perhaps a small miracle and we have several people to thank, without whom this would not have been possible. It really does take a village – or perhaps in this case – the entire population of Colchestaria…

Firstly we want to thank YOU, our audiences. Thank you for believing in us, for continuing to support regional theatre and for bringing the joy!

We have to give some extra special shout outs to people who jumped in at the last minute to save the day! The brilliant David Djemal covered the role of Aladdin, as did the incredible Marisa Harris. Whilst Ryan McBryde (Director) & Sasha Latoya (Genie) stepped in to the role of Sergeant Nee and Albie Keeble & Isaac Lock (panto chorus) covered the roles of Mummy and Prince Tarquin.

Finally we have to thank every single member of team Mercury. That includes all of these mind-blowingly talented people: our cast & panto chorus, creatives, band, stage management, technicians, wardrobe, lighting, sound, workshop, production, chaperones, BSL interpreters, captioner, audio describer, front of house & ticket sales, photographer, videographer, kitchen, senior management, operations, marketing, creative engagement, finance & development. In our eyes you are all heroes!

Assistant Stage Manager, Lucy Quinton – Photo by Leonie Spilsbury

Also behind the scenes & front of house we were assisted by band deps: Ed Adams (guitar) & Jack Tustin (bass), technicians/stage management: Sam Copus, Tom Lightbody, Kimberley Wyn Jones, Judith Volk, Kristin Howell, Ethan Howlett & George Rogers and on front of house, several members of the Senior Management & Office team jumped in to cover bar shifts and ushering, and our Finance Director even roped in her daughter, Eloise.

Overall roughly 160 people worked on Aladdin, whether it be providing the laughs, fixing wigs, selling ice cream, everyone contributed to this incredible success and we are beyond grateful. We will never be able to thank you enough, you are all, in our eyes, panto heroes. As are the amazing NHS workers who were boosting us all to keep us safe. Thank you.

We can’t wait to welcome everyone back to our magical Mercury panto later this year…stay tuned for more news on that very soon!

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