In the Spirit of Christmas
With Christmas around the corner, more and more British people are heading to the local theatres for some festive fun. Every Christmas a special performance, called PANTOMIME, is put on stage.
Originally from Italy, the PANTOMIME was established in England in the early 1800s and is still performed throughout the UK, normally during the Christmas and New Year season.Modern pantomime includes songs, jokes, comedy and dancing.It also uses men dressed as women who are known as“Dames” and is loosely based on a well-known fairy tale or folk tale. It is a participating form of theatre, in which the audience sings along with certain parts of the music and shouts out phrases to the performers.
So today we are talking to Phil Hoyles,
who takes part in the Pantomime show in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, UK.
Hi Phil, Thank you very much for being my special Christmas guest in “Inspirational English”. You tend to wear many hats- being a great radio DJ and an entertainer, but today I would like us to talk about your passion for acting. What is it that draws you to it?
“I enjoy creating and working on characters, over the years I have played various roles with different characteristics. I really enjoy getting into character and not being myself for a couple of hours. Also the costumes I wear can be great too.
I especially love comedy as “I like it” when the audience watching get involved and laugh with you"
Christmas is a special time for British families and one of the reasons is IT’S PANTO TIME. Adults and children look forward to seeing their favourite light-hearted performances. Would you tell us why PANTOMIMES still manage to attract such a big audience for local theatres?
"It is the only time of the year when Mums and Dads can take their children to the theatre. The whole family can go together. It's just a great Christmas treat for everyone young and old.
I think panto attracts people because we all love classic fairy tales such as Aladdin, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty etc, so people like to see these being bought to life in front of their eyes"
This year you are taking part in “Aladdin”. It’s been seen by many people all over the country but how do you bring a new spin to it?
"We try and keep it true to the original story that everyone knows. All the elements of the story are in there. We have a flying carpet in the show which is great site to see. I think we put a new spin to it by being very topical and some up to date songs in there as well".
Pantomime tends to be very traditional, the audience expect certain things to happen, and certain stories to be used. Is it a challenge to incorporate these traditions with the way that you see the character needing to be played?
"To be honest it's never a challenge. Pantomimes all over the UK have basically the same traditions that audiences know and love. To do any pantomime without these traditions would not be a pantomime. People expect to be shouting out "he's behind you" and "oh no he isn't, oh yes he is"......every panto is different to each other but there are similarities in some of the routines involved."
Do you think that pantomimes have changed in the last decade and how?
"I don't think it has changed. It's a British tradition and if it isn't broke then don't fix it. You can keep the production current by including some modern pop tunes as well as topical jokes. Some producers like to keep to the traditional pantomime instead of messing around with the format too much."
Most readers of the e-magazine INSPIRATIONAL ENGLISH are non-native speakers who find it nerve-racking to speak in public. Do you get stage fright and how do you overcome it?
"I do get nervous yes but when I go on stage then the nerves go. It's the adrenaline which keeps you going. Once I'm on stage and the audience are joining in and laughing with you, there is no better feeling. I've done this along time now that it's second nature for me. The nerves are good yes, but once you been on stage a few times, in my case I've been in the entertainment business for over 15 years then the nerves do eventually go"
Thank you, Phil!
You can find the whole interview with Phil Hoyles in the Christmas edition of INSPIRATIONAL ENGLISH.