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Panto Cast under the Spotlight: George Olney

Under the Panto spotlight is our Aladdin, George Olney. The Hungerford actor once appeared in our pantomimes over a decade ago as part of the Young Company, and now he's back in the title role and shares with us some of his favourite Christmas traditions.

Have you been in a pantomime before? What is your favourite thing about performing in one?
Yes I have! I was lucky enough to be a part of the young company in the 2006 and 2007 Newbury pantomimes! (See pictures below!). The best thing about that was being able to leave school early to ‘go to work’. The teachers hated it!!

I also played Dandini in 2016 at the Floral Pavilion. My favourite thing about that one was standing on a tree stump and singing Olly Murs.

Do you have any memories of being taken to see pantomimes as a child?
I vividly remember watching Rod Hull and Emu steal my mum's coat in the 1998 Windsor panto and having her chase him onto the stage to retrieve it. She was mortified. I was incredibly entertained.

What have you been doing this year to keep yourself creative? Have you taken up any new hobbies?

I spent a lot of time in lockdown pursuing my other passion which is DIY. I got to channel my creativity into all sorts of cool projects. I built a decking in the garden, redesigned several rooms in our family home, laid new floors, built a log store and had a lot of fun up cycling and restoring some furniture. All of which I documented on my Instagram story: @georgefolney.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

Ohhh absolutely! 'The Annual Robson Buffet' is always paramount in the build up to Christmas. Present wise, I always find a creative way to give him copious amounts of shower gel (whether that’s via a treasure hunt or a game show format where the prize for each round is always a bottle of shower gel). Hannah (his girlfriend) always receives something inflatable from me whether it be a reindeer or a giant chicken suit. Our mum always creates the most spectacular and delicious Christmas dinner and then we finish the day at our wonderful neighbour's house for games and drinks.

What is your favourite Christmas song?

It’s a toss up between Don’t let the Bells End by The Darkness and the live recording of O Holy Night by David Phelps. Listen to it, it’ll blow your mind.

Thanks George! Those are some fantastic stories, and it's great to have you back on our Newbury stage!

Rub that lamp, make all your wishes come true and join us on a carpet ride adventure like no other in this year's socially distanced pantomime adventure. Find out more