Mandy Rose, Press & PR Officer blogs about a forthcoming panto event and early memories
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of putting together a day of media interviews for our pantomime star Joan Collins who popped into the theatre to talk about her forthcoming panto debut in Dick Whittington this Christmas. Like any true professional she was in and out of interviews all day and would put some of our younger members of the profession to shame – she seemed to have the energy of a 20 year old!
Now I’m in the middle of organising our second launch with the rest of the cast – her leading men – Julian Clary, Nigel Havers, Keith Harris, Orville, Cuddles and Jeffrey Holland. As well as media interviews in the morning, there’s a second event just for the theatre’s Friends and Group bookers.
It’s always exciting working on these events with lots of preparation behind the scenes to make it happen. From inviting members of the media to interview them, (media are really keen!), writing releases, making up press packs, organising interview time slots, and booking dressers and dressings rooms to making sure everyone is fed and watered on the day. Then of course, there’s always that moment on the day itself when somebody asks for something out of the ordinary and you may find yourself dashing across to the Market for that extra piece of material, grips or can of hair spray!
I’ve organised Press and PR for loads of pantomime productions (too many!), met some very famous people and have some great memories: travelling with Britt Ekland in a chauffeur driven car to Liverpool at 11pm at night (she was on the Richard & Judy show the next day); taking the lovely Brian Conley to switch on Bham’s Xmas lights only to be overshadowed by Barney the dinosaur; chatting for hours with Paul O’Grady after he did a press call as Lily Savage (I still have one of the feathers from her headress); being mobbed by fans of Frank Bruno when he visited Cannon Hill Park; chasing geese outside the theatre when Matthew Kelly launched Mother Goose; getting stuck on the Euston Road with Ray Meagher (Alf from Home and Away) and ended up pushing the car (don’t ask); chased by Titan the Robot (that was scary); and of course organising two press days for John Barrowman. And my proudest moment(s) – receiving a Blue Peter badge for helping with a competition they ran to design a Dame costume for Christopher Biggins and coming up with an idea for a story featuring Britt Ekland on BBC Radio 4’s The Archers which was recorded both here and at the legendary Pebble Mill studios. (we received great media coverage for that).
As I’m writing this, I’m receiving emails from the pantomime production company just reconfirming everything for our forthcoming event, I just really need to know what time the costumes are arriving so I can get them out of the way – some staff have been known to try on a costume or two – but don’t tell anyone!
I’ve got a lot of media attending the event from Central News to Heart FM so keep a look out for press coverage over the coming weeks.
Dick Whittington opens on 18 December www.birminghamhippodrome.com
You can follow me on Twitter @mandyrose1
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Dick Whittington is supported by Heart FM as Media Partner and by Chiltern Railways as travel partner.