Cinderella's West End cast stuns Brighton by Matt Rigby

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When it comes to imagining the perfect family Christmas, you surely couldn’t create a list that didn’t have panto somewhere near the top. The lack of traditional family panto in Brighton was something that we at E3 felt needed addressing, so for Christmas 2017, we produced Cinderella. The idea was warmly welcomed by the people of Sussex and beyond.

A nationwide search for Cinderella began, and we were initially contacted by more than 300 people. Open auditions were held in Brighton in September, and more than 60 people arrived from as far away as Scotland. Some tough decisions had to be made, but Hannah Bailey was the eventual winner. Those who came to see the panto will agree that we definitely made the right choice when we picked our Cinders!

Our performance schedule of 13 shows kicked off on December 22nd, and ran through to December 28th (with a welcome break on Christmas Day). There was also a Christmas Fayre full of food and drink for our fans of Cinderella to come and enjoy before each show. The Hilton Brighton Metropole was the venue for both the Fayre and the performance, and we welcomed more than 7,500 people through the doors in total.

Upon entering the auditorium, many were surprised by the large screen that was used as a backdrop for the panto, with artwork designed in-house by E3’s graphic designer Danilo. The screen was also used for our very special video guest star David Essex, whose tale of being lost aboard a Southern Rail train for the many years made the whole crowd laugh.

The first seven shows from December 22nd to 26th were completely sold out, such was the massive response from people wishing to come and see Cinderella. Laughs were had by adults and children alike as the West End cast danced, sang, and performed their way through the two-hour long show. David Hill of E3 also featured in the cast, portraying one of the ugly sisters, in what marked his return to panto for the first time in 13 years. He starred alongside Alasdair Buchan portraying the other ugly sister, in a pairing that caught the eyes of many. We also had the pleasure of casting Lou Nash and Alex Baker from Juice 107.2’s breakfast show to make appearances as Lord and Lady Chamberlain.

Praise went out to each and every cast member, but an obvious stand-out to start with was Keris Lea as The Fairy Godmother. Keris’ band ‘The Sundaes’ are signed exclusively to McKenzie Associates, and her singing ability lit up the room. She was undoubtedly the perfect fit for the part.

Praise was also lauded upon The Prince (Jon Robyns) and Dandini (Joseph Peters), for managing to form an on-stage partnership that will live long in the minds of many. Throughout rehearsals, they seemed to almost become a comedic double-act, and this transferred perfectly to the stage. This was especially prevalent during the 12 days of Christmas song, in which Dandini managed to cover most of the front 5 rows in onion rings. Undoubtedly a favourite of the children would have been Dean Kilford as Buttons, who smiled all the way through his performance, and even did a singalong with some children from the audience. His ultimately doomed quest for Cinderella’s love earned him many a sympathetic ‘aww’ from the audience.

Our production ran it’s 6-day course without a hitch, and we are already looking forward to bring Aladdin to Brighton in December 2018. We would like to thank every single person who came along to see Cinderella, as in doing so you helped raise awareness and money for four local children’s charities that lay very close to the heart of E3; Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice, Chailey Heritage Foundation, Rockinghorse, and The Starr Trust.

Cinderella marked event two of twenty for E3’s project 20; a series of diverse events throughout 2017/18 that mark the twentieth anniversary of the company’s foundation. Project 20 is aiming to raise £20,000 to be spread out evenly between 5 local charities.

Cinderella was a co-production between E3 and the Brighton Academy.

McKenzie Associates was proud to support and sponsor this fantastic event.

Photo credit:

Photos 1-4: Graham Franks

Photos 5-12: Nick Ford

Cinderella Christmas Panto unveils West End cast by Matt Rigby

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McKenzie Associates are proud to announce that David Hill and Keris Lea will be performing in the Cinderella Christmas Panto at the Hilton Brighton Metropole between the 22nd and 28th of December. David is managed by McKenzie Associates, as are Keris’ band The Sundaes.

David Hill will be performing as an ‘Ugly Sister’, marking his return to panto off the back of a 13-year absence. David has performed alongside Julian Clary, and says he fell in to pantomime in 2001 after sharing a flat with him.

Keris Lea (Chocolate Sundae from The Sundaes) is also going to be performing alongside a west-end cast, and will be taking up her dream role as ‘The Fairy Godmother’. Keris’ back catalogue is as diverse as it is interesting, having played Mama Cass in the stage production ‘Give me the Moonlight’. More recently, she has dedicated more time to The Sundaes, and has performed up and down the country from Brighton to Edinburgh.

Cinderella will be marking the return of big, bold family panto to Brighton after a 9-year absence, and we are incredibly proud to have two of our performers to be included in the cast list. David Hill is also an executive producer of the panto as well as head of the E3 Group, with whom McKenzie Associates are working on this production. Speaking about the production David said: ‘The reaction to Cinderella has been overwhelming and we've already added two extra dates due to the demand for tickets. We have secured a first class cast for this production and I'm very proud to be part of it’. 

We at McKenzie Associates are proud to be a sponsor for this production of Cinderella, and cannot wait to see some of the talent we manage perform this Christmas. For those who wish to purchase tickets, please visit the Eventbrite page listed below.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/brighton-premiere-ltd-14796287031

The Wilderness Wonder Ball raises over £40,000 for the Sussex Wildlife Trust by Matt Rigby

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The grounds of the beautiful Folkington Manor in East Sussex played host to 250 guests, and an evening of music, dancing, and fine dining – all in aid of the Sussex Wildlife Trust – and raised a grand total of £41,228.

Upon arrival, guests were welcomed by two owls and a kestrel – Bramble, Halo, and Milly – kindly brought to The Wilderness Wonder ball by East Sussex Falconry. There were smiles all-around as guests were invited to hold and stroke these magnificent native British birds.

The evening was hosted by the ever-flamboyant David Hill of E3, who started proceedings with a fantastic rendition of ‘Feeling Good’, along with the Wilderness Wonder cast. David is known as a tough act to follow, but enchanting melodies from Hazel Karooma-Brooker captivated the crowd.

No night would be complete without a headline act, and this slot was filled wonderfully by British soul legends Hot Chocolate, who packed the dancefloor with classic hits such as ‘Man to Man’ and ‘You Sexy thing’. The evening’s music was rounded off by The Duelling Divas – Carlene Graham and Keris Lea – who provided disco music long in to the night.

The Wilderness Wonder cast featured Hannah Rebecca, Paige Broughton, and Emily Stewart, all of whom are proudly and exclusively represented by McKenzie Associates.

The Sussex Wildlife Trust is a fantastic charity that helps preserve and maintain the rich and diverse natural heritage of Sussex, engaging in public awareness campaigns as well as managing over 30 nature reserves across Sussex. Their 30,000-strong membership is growing every year, and events like The Wilderness Wonder Ball help them to expand and extend their reach in all areas of wildlife conservation.

McKenzie Associates are proud to have provided the talent for this fantastic event. 

Search for Cinders by Lukas Wojcik

Search for Cinders

The Search for Cinders has begun!

McKenzie Associates is proud to support this outstanding production. 

If you want to join our dazzling West End cast and play the title role in this brand new spectacular production of Cinderella in December, we want to hear from you. To apply for an audition please fill in the form on their website:

www.brightonfamilypanto.com

Auditions will be held at:

The Brighton Academy Of Performing Arts - Preston Park Campus
Clermont Hall
Cumberland Road
Brighton
BN1 6SL

Auditions will be on Sunday 24th September from 10am. We hope to see you there!

Brighton Family Panto presents Cinderella by Lukas Wojcik

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A Big Bold Family Panto is Back in Brighton this Christmas! It’s been ten years since the enchanted fairytale of Cinderella and her two wicked step-sisters was last told in Brighton.

McKenzie Associates is very proud to support this lavish production. 

Don’t miss out on this brand new spectacular production and with only four dates announced book now:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/brighton-premiere-ltd-14796287031

Please visit their website: www.brightonfamilypanto.com