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Panto Cast Under the Spotlight: Nikita Johal

Under our panto spotlight is Nikita Johal, who has recently performed in Broken Wings (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and Spring Awakening (Hope Mill Theatre), and will be the lovely Princess Jasmine in Aladdin. We caught up with her about her favourite pantomime memories.

Have you been in a pantomime before? What is your favourite thing about performing in one?
I've been in two traditional pantomimes before this one and one actor-muso Rock & Roll panto in Liverpool (which was certainly a challenge). My favourite thing about being in a pantomime is that every show is a complete surprise depending on the audience and on if anyone in the cast decides to be a bit naughty. I am an AWFUL giggler and usually a target. I find it impossible to hide and when I'm gone, I'm gone!

Do you have any memories of being taken to see pantomimes as a child?
I remember my first pantomime being a school trip to see Mother Goose at Watford Palace Theatre. We were so high up and I remember trying to lean over the balcony. I got to play Sleeping Beauty there last Christmas and it was a real full circle, special moment.

What have you been doing this year to keep yourself creative? Have you taken up any new hobbies?
I've always been really active, being a personal trainer. However in lockdown I set myself a different challenge of doing a half marathon for Parkinson's UK in November. So my lockdown activity has been (a lot) of running which I've come to love!

Do you have any Christmas traditions?
Every Christmas my mum's whole family come over and we have a huge roast lunch. There are usually 14 of us and we're a hungry, loud lot! No one ever goes home until EastEnders has finished in the evening, which is always when the cheeseboard and port is cracked open!

What is your favourite Christmas song?
Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin' Stevens. I can't hear that song without wanting to dance about!

Thanks Nikita, we've loved hearing all your panto memories!

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