Panto ‘breaking new ground’ as teacher prepares for wicked new role
- Credit: Archant
To the many drama students he teaches at a Lowestoft high school, Thom Bailey is known as 'Sir'.
But this festive season the 34-year-old is preparing to transform into a pantomime character that will break theatre tradition.
For Mr Bailey will break 'new ground' as he takes on the leading role in this year's Beccles pantomime Sleeping Beauty.
He will play Carabosse, the wicked fairy, in the panto – and it will be the first time that a Spark Live Pantomimes production features a man performing the role of a female villain.
With Craig Revel Horwood and Paul O'Grady renowned for this type of role, Mr Bailey, from Great Yarmouth, said: 'I'm really excited as Spark Live Pantomimes are breaking new ground.
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'We haven't started rehearsals yet, but I have been preparing and drawing inspiration from the strong women in my family.
'Carabosse isn't solely a comedic character and if I get a lot of boos then I will feel I've done a good job. She just genuinely delights in causing mayhem and she does it with glee.'
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His interest in drama and theatre began at a young age, thanks to the support of his late father, who enjoyed his love of entertainment and doing impressions.
After gaining a degree in drama and an MA in theatre directing, Mr Bailey began running the youth section at St George's Theatre in Great Yarmouth, as well as directing and starring in shows across East Anglia.
Aside from playing Carabosse, Mr Bailey – who teaches at Ormiston Denes Academy – is directing the panto for the first time. He said: 'When the school hired me they were looking for someone who had experience of working professionally in a theatre and the discipline and etiquette that comes with putting on a show, so it will be nice to show them what I can do.
'Twenty members of the school faculty are coming to watch on opening night and now the students are starting to catch on that I'm in it.
'Some have been telling me I look a lot like the person on the panto posters!'
Sleeping Beauty will be performed at Beccles Public Hall from December 21 to December 31. To book tickets, call 01502 770060 or visit www.becclespublichall.com