By Graham Chalmers
It’s a fairytale come true for sparkling young actress Amy Walsh - literally.
When she steps on stage next week in a stunning ball gown for the launch of this year’s Harrogate Theatre pantomime, it will be her first panto - and she’s playing the title character in Sleeping Beauty!
Although no stranger to Harrogate Theatre, having performed there with Reform Theatre last year, playing Princess Aurora is a whole new ball game for this talented actress, one she’s very much looking forward to.
“I can’t wait. It’s going to be so nice seeing all the kids – and adults – enjoying themselves. I was in pantomimes as a kid in the local village, but I’ve never been in a professional one like this before.”
Amy, who made her TV debut recently playing Jennifique McQueen in Hollyoaks Late Nights, sees panto as an even greater challenge than her ‘straight’ acting, especially as Harrogate’s has such a brilliant reputation.
She said: “In straight plays, I have only one thing to think about: acting. In panto, you have so many other things, as well: dancing, singing, the fight scene. If you thought about everything at once, you’d self-combust!”
Starring alongside experienced and popular Harrogate panto regulars such as Tim Stedman and Chris Clarkson can’t be easy for this likable 26-year-old but she’s relishing the challenge.
“I’m a bit nervous as the rest of the cast has all done panto before, so they keep winding me up as to what they might do onstage to make me laugh. Without giving too much away, there’s one point where I get frozen by the wicked fairy, Carabosse, and I have to stay still for quite a while with the other actors surrounding me. That should be an interesting scene!
Amy, who grew up in Bradford, before graduating from drama school in 2009 and appearing on tour in Hull Truck Theatre’s ’s Shakers; directed by John Godber, is a great believer in Harrogate’s family-orientated approach to pantomime.
She said: “Harrogate’s panto is such a spectacle, as the music , set, costumes and dancing are always stunning.
“What it’s also known for is the brilliant storyline. It makes the acting really enjoyable, as you have to – and want to – stay true to the fairy tale and the great writing.”
l Sleeping Beauty runs at Harrogate Theatre from November 22 to January 12.
Tickets are available from the theatre box office on 01423 502116 or book online at www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk