Chichester’s Georgina Jackson directs for the first time this year in her long association with the Eastergate Players as they prepare for the village pantomime, Cinderella.
Georgina is promising a musical extravaganza with singing, dancing, glitz and sparkle as she steps behind the scenes for the first time.
Cinderella is a special show for Georgina.Having joined the Players in 1995, she played Dandini, Prince Charming’s best friend, in 1998 in her first-ever principal role.
“I want to instil that excitement in other people, to now give that opportunity to other people,” she says. “It is going to be all-singing, all-dancing – and it gives everyone something to look forward to.
“The Eastergate Players started about 30 years ago as a PTA group that did one production a year, and it has been part of the community for a very long time. It has moved on from the PTA and become its own thing. I got involved because my mum knew a lady that was in it. We went along to support them and watch them one year, and my mum said she thought she might join. I was doing GCSE drama at the time. I thought it might be useful for me as well.
“It has just been such great fun, and they are a really nice group of people. It’s good to have a reason to be silly. As soon as the nights start drawing in and it all becomes a bit miserable, knowing you have something silly to do once a week helps you through the winter!
“We finish the show at the very end of January, and we don’t get to see each other much until the September, but then everyone is back together again and it is something everyone looks forward to. You get the same people year after year, and you also get new people coming in. It is great.
“In terms of just the commitment, it is just the one show a year, the panto. They have looked at doing other things outside of the panto, but really the panto is what it is all about. And the standard is pretty high. Yes, we are a local village group, but we have a great stage in Eastergate village hall.
“We have a good space for starters. It’s a raised stage, and we have a bit of a thrust that comes out. We have proper entrances and exits. It is not just a floor space, and we have a new rig of lighting. We can now achieve a pretty good standard.”
It is Georgina’s first time directing: “I thought it was my turn. There is not like a formal process for who should direct each year. I had been thinking about it, and I wanted to do Cinderella.”
She admits it is going to be hard not actually being on the stage, though: “I don’t know where they will be able to hide me on the night. They might have to put me in the car park so I can sing and dance along!”
The show, which will be performed at Eastergate village hall, will run from Tuesday, January 27 to Saturday, January 31 at 7.30pm and includes a Saturday matinee at 2pm.
Tickets cost £7 for adults, £5 for under-16s and over-65s, and £5 for all ages for the Tuesday-night performance. They are available from Barnham Opticians or by post at Eastergate Players Tickets, 2 Meadow Way, Westergate, Chichester, PO20 3QT. Include a cheque made payable to Eastergate Players and stamped self-addressed envelope.