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Panto Cast under the Spotlight: Philip Elvy

Last, but of course not least, under the panto spotlight is Philip Elvy, who will be this year's panto dame, Widow Twankey. He's starred in a few of our pantomimes, including last year's Sleeping Beauty, and tells us what it's REALLY like to be in a Newbury panto...

Have you been in a pantomime before? What is your favourite thing about performing in one?
All the pantos I have been in before have been at the Corn Exchange. The first two were 13/14 years ago. I started off as the baddie, King Rat, in Dick Whittington and made young children cry and older children laugh. They used to shout back and call me a 'Loser!'. Then I was in Beauty and the Beast together with Clare Plested and Adam Brown and this year's Aladdin, George Olney, who was then in the young ensemble. So, this year will be a bit of a mini-reunion. I returned to Newbury last year to play the Dame for the first time and loved it so much, I'm back for more.

Do you have any memories of being taken to see pantomimes as a child?

I only remember going once. My mum is from Switzerland so a lot of Christmases were spent there.

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

I've been fortunate in that I could continue working, teaching English as a second language on Zoom so I've been busy with that. Other than that I've done a lot of gardening and cooking. I wish I could say that I'd written a book or taken up painting but the truth is I was watching Netflix.

Do you have any Christmas traditions?

In Canterbury, where I'm originally from, we would go to the community carols sing-a-long on the High Street on Christmas Eve. This was set up by my granddad in 1952 and has since been run by my Auntie Sheila to raise funds for the Lord Mayor of Canterbury's Christmas Gift Fund. They deliver food parcels to elderly, isolated, and vulnerable individuals and families in the local area. After that, we'd go for a curry.

What is your favourite Christmas song?

Fairytale in New York
by the Pogues with Kirsty MacColl. I love to shout-sing along whenever it's played at the end of the night.

It's great to have you back Philip, and what lovely Christmas traditions too!

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