Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Dame Caulfield is back in Derry. It's Panto time!

William Caulfield is indeed back on the Derry stage for this years Christmas Panto at The Millennium Forum. Not only is Dame Caulfield back in his larger than life dresses, make-up and wig, but this year he is celebrating 10 years at the famous Derry Panto. 
Chief Executive of the Millennium Forum and Producer of the 
pantomime, David McLaughlin, siad: 
"We are delighted to welcome William back this year for what will surely be another memorable panto season. For the past ten years, he has been at the centre of the biggest show in the city's arts calendar and has played numerous roles including Buttons, Silly Billy, Captain Hook as well as many unforgettable Dames. He is a great hit with local audiences and we hope to see him grace our stage for many more pantos to come."
I was fortunate to catch up with Caulfield earlier today, prior to my attending the Panto tonight.
It was early on this Wednesday morning but his enthusiasm for the show even at this hour never faltered. "We've done 5 shows this year to date and now we're in full stride" he told me. 
I asked Caulfield what it is about Panto that he so clearly loves: "I just love doing Panto. Throughout the rest of the year I'm on my own when on stage. This can be a lonely time. I enjoy it but you drive to the show alone and you're on stage alone. Here at Panto season there's such a great comradeship with myself and the cast. Plus of course I'm not carrying the stage alone." He added, "Panto shortens the Christmas season for me. There is such a long build up to the festivities and I get to work right up to Christmas. Then I get Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day off and it's back to work again."
William Caulfield oozes passion for the Panto stage and admits to never getting nervous. "There's no point in me getting nervous" he tells me. "It's the front 5 rows of the audience that should be nervous! I do get apprehensive in that I hope I do my job well, but no, no nerves."
I must admit that last year was my first time seeing Caulfield in Panto. I made a promise to myself after that show that I wouldn't be missing it again for many years to come.
I asked William to describe his stage character for me. He laughs and describes 'her' as "absolutely nowt like me! William Caulfield is quite shy. Once the dress, the make-up and the wig goes on, I become a larger than life character. I become an entirely different person. The character arrives and then the voice comes."
Caulfield says that he loves Panto so much that if he ever won the Lotto, "no-one would know. I'd just carry on doing this as I love it."
So can we look forward to seeing himself on stage for another 10 years in Derry? "Only health or even death will stop me!" Just what the audience wants to hear. 
Dame Widow Twankey will be larger than life in the Millennium Forum's panto, Aladdin all over the Christmas season. All that's left for me to hope for is that I'm not in the front 5 rows tonight.
'Oh No I'm NOT. Oh Yes You ARE!'

Aladdin performs at the Millennium Forum until Sunday January 3rd. Book your ticket to see William Caulfield in his 10th Derry panto by calling the Box Office on 71264455 or visit www.millenniumforum.co.uk now!






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