For the last four nights I have been performing on the West End Stage at the Leicester Square Theatre. Together, with a cast of 39 actors from all sectors of the hospitality industry, we have volunteered our time, whilst also doing our ‘day jobs’. I am delighted to announce that the hard work has paid off. Springboard’s Hospitality Pantomime Dick Whittington is hailed as a resounding success.
Auditions and casting were held in October last year. We had just 3 months of rehearsal to perfect our acting, singing and dancing. With the help of Director Hannah Sands, Choreographer Ellie Coote and Assistant Directors Molly Stacey and Anastasia Bruce Jones, we were able to entertain our peers with our version of Dick Whittington.
The pantomime brings together the diversity of those working in our industry from catering assistants through to CEO’s. It breaks down any barriers as we are put through our paces and pushed out of our comfort zones, sharing the stage.
How the classic tale of Dick Whittington has been given a hospitality twist
This year I played the role of Fiona Silverton, TV News Reporter. In our story Dick Whittington [played by Liam Wood, Head of Openings, New World] comes to London and finds a job in Maria Fitzwarren’s restaurant [played by Louise Gallant, Director, Gallant Recruitment] as a Chef. I report on her stresses as she has to contend with allegations of a rat problem, walkouts by staff and the threat of her restaurant being closed down with the imminent arrival of Food Inspector Cindy Bang [played by Aida Antuna-Blaauw, Guest Experience Shift Leader, Andaz Liverpool Street ] and Food Critic Hugh Hubris [played by Simon Lewis, Operations Manager, HIT Training]. Her daughter Alice [played by Katherine Price, Senior Report, The Caterer] is her calming influence and Dick’s love interest..
With a very quick costume change I am back on stage as a dancing waiter inviting the audience to ‘Be Our Guest’ with Head Chef Crooner [played by Martin Dibbens, General Manager, Searcy’s] announcing the restaurant is back in business.
The restaurant is saved as Cat [played by Amy Stopher, General Manager, Blanchette] comes to the rescue. Being the best rat catcher in London she kills off the rats, led by the Rat Man [played by Barry O’Brien, Deputy Head of Security, The Ritz London] and his reluctant side kick Vernon [played by Becky Lown, Business Development Manager, Marussia Beverages] and destroys the terrifying Rat Monster [played by Gary King, Managing Director, Collins King and Associates]. With lots of twist and turns in the plot it is revealed that the Rat Man is really Dick’s evil step father, lover of steps, hater of lift music! All ends well as Dick is welcomed to the hospitality family and given a job as a permanent Chef and the restaurant passes the food inspection, despite there being a giant talking cat in the kitchen!
This is the third year that Springboard have put on their hospitality pantomime and the reviews have been fabulous:
All the money raised goes towards funding their ‘Hospitality Futures’ employability programme in London. If you missed out, you can still donate to support this worthy cause. None of this would have been possible without the Springboard team and Producer Geoffrey Roe. It has been an amazing experience and I look forward to next year’s production!