Goldilocks goes to the Wild West AND online for The Garage’s popular My First Panto
- Credit: TMS Media
Audiences won’t have to wait long to find out who’s eaten all the porridge as The Garage in Norwich present an online pantomime for children – and the Wild West sets are just right
An all-female creative team are joining forces to bring panto magic to life this Christmas with sets that place Goldilocks in the Wild West.
My First Panto: Goldilocks and The Three Bears invites under-sevens and their families to head out to the Wild West where Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby Bear live quite happily.
Life is sweet: but a mischievous wind is blowing down the prairie and with it the famous bandit, Goldilocks, who causes havoc while they are at Old Man Rogers’ annual rodeo. What will she eat? What will she break? Where will she sleep? Most importantly – who will the pig wrestle?
The newest instalment from All-In Productions and The Garage’s My First Panto will this year, due to Covid-19, be streamed directly into living rooms and will be fully interactive, meaning that the audience can decide what happens to characters and shape the plot of the show.
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Kat Heath and Kirsteen Wythe are the creative force behind the set and costumes for Goldilocks and the Three Bears to life online for The Garage in Norwich and The Workshop in King’s Lynn.
Although audiences may be seeing the show on their computers or Smart televisions, the pair say there will be no compromise on making sure the show looks as amazing as a live show.
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Luckily, the pair love a challenge: pantomime is the chance for creative teams to really let their imaginations run riot with sets splashed with colour and lavish costumes and Goldilocks does not disappoint.
Kat said: “I always start off with the script. Sometimes it can take a while for ideas to come but, as soon as I read this script, I knew what it was going to look like.
“It has been quite a quick process. What I would normally do in a month has been done in a week because of the Covid situation but that has made it all quite spontaneous and exciting.”
She sums up the look of the show in six words. “It’s Dr Seuss meets The Wild West!”
Meanwhile for co-creative Kirsteen, the focus was on bringing the bears to life.
“Mama Bear is a bit older and frumpy but, because it is panto, she needed to be glamorous too. She needed a really bright costume and I have mixed in a bit of a panto dame look,” she said.
“Papa Bear is a proper old hick who is always just sitting outside drinking a bottle of beer, and wears raggedy dungarees and a tie-round scarf. I didn’t want to make Goldilocks look too innocent so there are no girly colours: she’s in red with pigtails and just a hint of the Wild West.”
Panto, she added, gave them permission to throw the rulebook out of the window: “The conventions are so different for a panto. It is all about the nice bright colours. You can also set it in an era of time but you don’t have to strict about those elements. You can make them your own,” said Kirsteen.
Both women are no strangers to the world of creating theatre for young people (and the older members of their family, of course).
Kat recalled: “I always wanted to be a designer. I did a lot of drama as a kid and made the sets for plays both in and out of school. I discovered it was a job and, at the age of 12, I was reading prospectuses of colleges I wanted to go to.”
The preparation paid off and she went to Wimbledon School of Art and Central St Martin’s and has designed sets for theatre, music, opera and dance productions.
Kat trained at Wimbledon School of Art and Central St Martin’s designing set and costume for theatre, music, opera and dance, and has worked for a wide range of companies and producers including the Watermill Theatre, the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, UK tours of The Isle of Brimsker and Macbeth, and even the Peaky Blinders Festival.
Locally, she has also done a lot of work with Frozen Light based at The Garage which creates productions for people with profound learning disabilities, which is something she really enjoys.
“It is really fun to design their shows because it is about refocusing things that you know in life into their different sensory components and see how people can experience them without actually being there. I think that is what theatre is about,” she said.
It is this element which drew her to being part of the online pantomime for The Garage and The Workshop.
“Being able to smell and touch something and really feel you are in that place is what draws me to immersive theatre. This panto is similar. With something that is both filmed and theatrical, you get that level of detail and it feels real but also adds that theatrical fun,” she said.
For Kat, the next challenge is the premiere of The Garage panto and being able to get feedback from audiences from her work - the online equivalent of a first night.
“That reaction is why I do what I do. As soon as the lighting goes on the set and the performers bring it to life, that’s the joy of theatre and collaboration for me. For audiences to see what you have created for them is just priceless,” she said.
* Find out more and pre-order your tickets for My First Panto: Goldilocks and the Three Bears at www.thegarage.org.uk.