Behind the scenes at panto's costume workshop

Mark Hudson, from Aylsham, at his workshop outside Norwich.

Mark Hudson, from Aylsham, is working on outfits for festive pantomimes at his workshop outside Norwich. - Credit: Sheringham Little Theatre

A workshop is buzzing with sewing-machines and excitement as crafters create colourful costumes for an upcoming pantomime.

Mark Hudson, from Aylsham, is working on the outfits for the Jack and the Beanstalk panto at Sheringham Little Theatre and St George's Theatre in Great Yarmouth.

The 51-year-old, who has played panto dame for more than 20 years, said he loves the creative side of designing the costumes in liaison with the writer and wardrobe team.

Mark Hudson with wardrobe mistresses Libby Henshaw and Jenni Randall.

Mark Hudson with wardrobe mistresses Libby Henshaw and Jenni Randall. - Credit: Sheringham Little Theatre

He said: “It starts with writer and director sending me his ideas – which are for a fresh, 'cool' feel this year - which follows the recent trend for pantos to take traditional entertainment and make it fit the modern day.

“I love choosing and sourcing the materials, designing costumes to fit the script, and thinking out of the box – including putting colours together that you would not necessarily expect to work.”

Materials for creating pantomime outfits at Mark Hudson's workshop outside Norwich.

Materials for creating pantomime outfits at Mark Hudson's workshop outside Norwich. - Credit: Sheringham Little Theatre

Mr Hudson has danced since he was five, learning at the Barbara Sutton School of Dance in Aylsham, and then went on to teach dance and opened his own school in Stalham in 1987.

He took over the Anglia Academy of Performing Arts 31 years ago,  it is now based at Meteor Close near Norwich Airport.

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It also houses his Syldon Costumes venture in a string of rainbow bright rooms, sparkling with glitter, multi-coloured boas, and lines of extravagant wigs.

A team of five including his mum Sylvia makes the costumes. They buy hundreds of meters of materials from London warehouses and source some of the more exotic trimmings from India and China.

Wigs at Mark Hudson's workshop outside Norwich.

Wigs at Mark Hudson's workshop outside Norwich. - Credit: Sheringham Little Theatre

Later this month the cast will arrive for rehearsals to the meet their costumes for the first time.

The costumes will feature in panto performances at St Georges: December 11-19 (1pm and 5pm) and the Little Theatre, December 21-23 (1pm and 5pm), Christmas Eve at 10am and 1pm and back to 1pm and 5pm for December 26-31.

For tickets and prices visit www.stgeorgestheatre.com or call 01493 331484  or www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com 01263 822347.

Schools can sign up to see a streamed version of the show in their classrooms via the Norfolk Music Hub at www.norfolkmusichub.org.uk/site/jack-beanstalk-livestream-pantomime-coming-december-2021/





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