Interview with pantomime dame Richard Gauntlett

Richard Gauntlett in Sleeping Beauty

Richard Gauntlett in Sleeping Beauty - Credit: supplied

He not only writes and directs the Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime - he wears 11 dresses in it too!

What treats should Aladdin audiences expect this year?

Certainly a spectacle for the eyes! Brand new sets and costumes and some amazing magical effects – I can’t wait!

How many dresses will you wear per performance?


How ridiculously over the top will they be on a scale from astonishing to mind-boggling?

It is all a bit hush-hush – suffice to say two of the frocks require planning permission.

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What do you love most about pantomime?

Entertaining boys and girls from three to 103.

Is there anything you don’t like about panto?

Saying goodbye at the end of a run. One meets, rehearses and plays with a lovely bunch of performers – at the end of a panto run, we are like a family that has to go separate ways.

What jokes or scenes get the biggest laughs?

One never knows! Often rehearsal laughs are not the biggest when an audience is there – I wish I knew.

Can you remember your first stage appearance?

I played Bill (or was it Ben?) in a nativity at nursery school with my twin brother.

What do you like about working in Norwich?

I consider myself very lucky that I am asked to return each year and perform in front of the warm and responsive audiences of Norfolk – oh, and the shops are great!

Who do you spend Christmas with and how do you celebrate?

The one day off we get I spend with my wife and twin boys - eating.

When did you play your first pantomime dame?

Jack and the Beanstalk in 2002 at the Theatre Royal in Norwich.

When did you start working with the Theatre Royal?

Mother Goose in 2001 – I played Sir Jasper, the baddie!

What brings you back every year?

I love Norwich! For 18 years I have spent Christmas in Norwich working with friends at a theatre that cares about pantomime.

What have been your highlights of 2018 and what are you looking forward to in 2019?

Having spent a lot of the year writing, I hope to see a couple of projects come to fruition and will be directing for two opera companies in the summer. u

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