If panto’s not your thing then take a seat at Trinity Theatre for an alternative festive experience that all the family can enjoy this Christmas. Eileen Leahy talks to Director John Martin about his seasonal production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical version of the timeless classic Cinderella, which starts today
Tell us a little bit about what audiences can expect from your Christmas production for 2016?
They will discover a wonderful, lush and romantic Rodgers and Hammerstein score. As we have been working through the show the amazing quality of the music is becoming more and more evident.
Do you stay true to the traditional story of Cinderella or is there a little twist in there?
As with the recent Kenneth Branagh film, this is a classic re-telling of the story that is as far removed from pantomime as you can get. There are little differences along the way but this is a rich musical treatment of the story that emphasises the key themes of love and responsibility for your destiny. It presents us with well-rounded characters, particularly with the Prince and Cinderella, who have a greater depth and are not your standard stereotypes.
How many is in the cast and is it an all singing, all dancing one?
This is the largest professional company we have had at Christmas as we have recruited six additional dancers who are essential when it comes to creating the waltzing and dancing in the ballroom scene. We have 15 professionals in the cast and two teams of eight young, local performers. This is considerably fewer than we had at last year’s Oliver! – but they are still vital to the show and it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to work in a professional environment.
Do you recruit locally or from all over the place?
It’s a combination of both! We obviously have two teams of local children in the show and the actor who plays Cinderella is from the area, however others come from all over the county and beyond. What is wonderful is that we are now developing a relationship with performers which sees some returning from previous productions. We also have plenty of new people joining us – our family keeps growing each Christmas!
What do you think is the major appeal of a production like this at Christmastime?
In recent years, here at Trinity we have focused on classics for our Christmas show. We love a good traditional story at this time of the year and Cinderella is one of the greats.
Why do you think it is such a timeless tale?
At its heart it’s a wonderful love story that engages with everybody who ever had a wish and wanted to change the world they lived in. It illustrates that it is possible to escape from difficult situations and to find true love – but that you need to work at it!
Is it something that all ages will enjoy seeing?
Absolutely. There is something in the show for everyone, adults and children alike. We have wonderful dance routines, amazing costumes, puppets and an incredible magical transformation!
How long have you been rehearsing it as an ensemble for?
Our young performers have been rehearsing since October and all of the company have been in rehearsals since the end of November.
What’s next for Trinity?
The next original Trinity production will be a new children’s show: The Tin Man of Oz, which is based on the Frank L Baum book and tells how the Tin Man came to be…
Cinderella is being performed at Trinity theatre from today, December 15, until January 2. Tickets cost from £20 for adults and £16.50 for children but there are some special deals in the week before Christmas. For more information please visit www.trinitytheatre.net