‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ Wins Regional Award for Stage Design

Honiton Pantomime Society’s 2014 production ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ has won the Wilfred Roe Trophy for Stage Decor at the NODA South West Awards Gala at the end of February.

Honiton Pantomime Society beat over three hundred amateur dramatics societies to win a Regional Award for stage design, costumes, props and makeup. The NODA South West award nominees were shortlisted from over a thousand productions from across the southwest performed by NODA affiliated societies. Among the eleven other societies that were shortlisted for the award were musicals, plays and other theatrical shows.

The award was for last year’s production of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ the 30th production by the society who have always built their own set and made their own props and costumes wherever possible. The hard work on the visual elements of the Pantomime starts in September for costumes where the whole cast is measured ready for costumes to be made. Since we have 30 years worth of costumes to draw on, we try to adapt or add-to costumes wherever possible to save money and fabric but often a character pops up where a completely new costume has to be made. For example, in ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ we had to build a giant, this consisted of a head within which a smaller boy stood, and a body which he sat on top of operated a man dressed in black. This created the illusion of a truly large giant and the audience loved it when the head popped off and started running around on its own.

For props and set, the society works every Saturday and Sunday from January to the Pantomime in February to build anything up to 5 sets that are needed and the multitude of props and smaller pieces of set that appear throughout the show. In ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ the beanstalk is one of the biggest challenges of any Pantomime and must be impressive and work well every time on the nights of the performances. Not all amateur societies attempt to make a working Beanstalk so we were proud to be able to win the award based on our perseverance with this production.

The makeup is a job which is well planned and thought out but not delivered until much later in the rehearsal period where the makeup is tried out with the finale costumes and then produced in detail every night of the performance. Our makeup team an consist of anything up to 6 people for a cast of roughly 40 strong and therefore can be quite a job especially if you have 30 chorus members to do makeup for all in one makeup change.

When asked about winning the award, the director of the production Alex Jackson commented:

I am so proud that the first Pantomime I’ve been involved with as director has won a regional award. It is such a team atmosphere at the Honiton Pantomime Society and I can genuinely say that as well as working together to create the Pantomime I have some great friends in the society and we have so much fun particularly in performance week. We don’t set out to win awards with our production but it is so great that our hard work has been recognised in this way

Our next production is ‘The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe’ this summer after the record breaking success of our winter Pantomime ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Our new summer production will be our first adventure into the world of musical theatre and it has a great script so we can’t wait to get started on the production. Our open evening for the production is Tuesday 24th March at the Sixth Form Centre at Honiton Community College.

To find out more about the society or to be involved in our next production, visit www.honitonpanto.co.uk or email us at info@honitonpanto.co.uk. You can also get in touch via social media so feel free to follow us on facebook and twitter!

About Alex Jackson

Alex is a committee member of the Honiton Pantomime Society and has directed 3 productions for them. He is involved mainly in the planning of future performances and the society's online presence.
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