Brightlingsea & Clacton MTS Cinderella selfie panto

In early March 2020, the Government made an announcement that put the entire country on hold as it introduced Social Distancing to stem the spread of the Corona Virus. This meant the end of public gatherings, and therefore called halt to a wealth of Amateur Dramatic groups across the UK. Two of these groups were Brightlingsea Musical Theatre Group, who were midway through rehearsals for their production of ‘The Addam’s Family Musical’ and Clacton Musical Theatre Society, who had just started work on ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’.

For so many members of these groups, this enforced distancing had a huge impact in terms of their contact with friends and means of creative release, which at this time was becoming more important than ever.

It was then that Lucy Weaver, Chair of BMTG and member of CMTS, spotted a post in the Amateur Theatre Hub on facebook, promoting a free script for ‘Cinderella – the selfie pantomime’, penned by Warren McWilliams. Lucy quickly got in touch and pitched the idea to both groups and appealed for volunteers to sign up to an unorthodox performance project.

Very quickly a cast was formed and the production began to take shape! Starting with a read through using Zoom, the performers then set to work, sourcing costumes, creating props and filming their dialogue, sometimes in total isolation! This caused several difficulties not normally found with staged productions. One cast member had to stand on a chair to film his scenes in order for trees to be visible behind him, whilst another had to tape his phone to a wall in order to record his scenes selfie style.

Once all was filmed, the cast sent their clips to Lucy and the task of editing began. The show encountered more difficulties here, including corrupt files and missing lines, but creativity came through and some novel additions were made, including a real-life Cinderella coach and horses (courtesy of Lucy’s 4-year old daughter’s playroom!). After approximately 60 hours of linking every clip line by line, the show was complete and launched on youtube!

The feedback was such a joy for the group to receive with so many people saying it had brought some much needed laughs to them in these difficult times. They even got a mention in the local paper for showing the unusual things that members of the community have done under lockdown.

The group are now eagerly awaiting the release of the next title from Warren McWilliams so watch this space! 

Their show can be viewed via this link