The Christmas Panto
10th December 2013
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Like mistletoe, mince pies and mulled wine, the local pantomime is something no Christmas should be without: the perfect 'tis the season' reminder to spur on festive cheer! This year at the Savoy the panto is Aladdin. Written and Directed by Sam Densham who runs Savoy Youth Theatre, the pantomime stars a cast of both professionals and local youth theatre members.

With members ever growing (now around 70, ageing between 4- 18) not all of Youth Theatre are involved in the pantomime and some are working on another project going alongside Aladdin. Those that are involved had to audition and they range between the age of 9 to 17 years old. The professionals audition as well, coming from an array of places- some new, some having performed in last years panto.

I spoke to Youth Theatre member Thom Shaw-Penman, who began Youth Theatre when he was 13. Five years later at 18 he has quite a different part. From beginning with 'the smallest part', to performing in the chorus, he has now landed a main role: meaning that he will be performing as part of the Aladdin professionals this Christmas. Thom isn't the first Shaw-Penman member that the Youth Theatre has known, or to have theatrical interests. Older sister Anwen began the tradition and then came sister Rhi who is involved still now- helping Sam as assistant director. The tradition hasn't stopped with Thom either, he tells me his younger sister Seren (5) has just started Youth Theatre. When questioned on sibling rivalry, Thom admits it's benefits- having spurred him on to develop and acquire new skills: 'Rhi could sing, so I wanted to sing'. Thom also dances – the routines of which in Youth Theatre sister Rhi choreographs. Whether it's just you or your entire family involved in Youth Theatre, it sounds like one massive family unit- for even when members grow up and move on Thom declares that 'you've never quite left the youth theatre'.

Thom plays a character called 'Kickbum' who is the evil sidekick, the equivalent to the Parrot in the Disney version. When asked his favourite type of performance, Thom struggled to answer- loving it all but expressing particular enthusiasm for a Shakespeare open air piece the Youth Theatre did around Monmouthshire last summer. Rehearsals with the professionals were due to begin when I spoke to Thom and despite his noting of growing responsibilities with his age and new role his enthusiasm and excitement was obvious, drama and performing arts clearly being his big dream.

So come and see it for yourselves, indulge in the festivities and merriment.

The pantomime is on 28th-31st December and tickets are available on
The Youth Theatre will also be at the Candlelit Parade which takes place in town on Thursday,12th December.

About the Author

Saydi F

Member since: 5th November 2013

Marketing assistant for Monmouth Savoy Theatre. Providing updates on the activity of the Savoy and promoting and informing of upcoming events and shows.

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