Take a bow Rachael Drew – she is the new production co-ordinator for the YMCA and one of her first jobs is staging the pantomime.
The drama graduate took over the role at the St Thomas Street base from Kerry Nicholson – and is no stranger to the venue.
As a member of Bridlington Junior Theatre Workshop Rachael performed there. She studied drama at A-level and then at Queen Margaret’s University in Edinburgh where trained as a director.
“I have always volunteered at theatres and done freelance work,” said Rachael.
This includes working with youngester at York Theatre Royal.
But workwise she veered, temporarily, from drama and worked for the National Trust managing a property in Clumber Park, near Worksop, Nottinghamshire. She lived in a beautiful 17th century gate house six miles from civilisation. She loved it but after a while hankered after the East Riding, saw the job at the YMCA advertised, applied and got it.
“It was serendipitous,” said Rachael who is now living back in Bridlington with her partner Mike, who is a tree surgeon.
Her role includes directing the shows for YMCA Productions, taking care of the costume store and holding auditions.
One of her first jobs has been casting the annual pantomime which this year is Jack and the Beanstalk.
For the first session six people turned up - but Rachael approached other youth drama groups, including the Stephen Joseph Theatre, and asked if there members would be interested - for the second round of auditions she could take her pick from 84 hopefuls.
“We are now spoilt for choice in terms of the cast. It was a great response and we have some high quality singers and dancers.”
The panto will be a traditional seasonal show with contemporary music - and the occasional local gag.
As far as rehearsals go, Rachael has already called in a favour to help with the cast of nine-year-olds and upwards.
Her choreographer is Steven White, a dance graduate of Bird College in London. He is a friend from her Bridlington Youth Theatre days.
She is also used to getting the wider community involved. She was community engagement officer for Hull Museum whcih involved wiorking with youngsters not in a job or training.
“It is great to work with other oganisations. There are enough people ready to knock the arts, we don’t need to knock each other,” said Rachael.
“There is room for all kinds of theatre, what suits one youngster doesn’t necessarily suit another.”
After the panto run has ended Rachael will be looking to stage a show at Easter and a summer production.
Jack and the Beanstalk opens on Boxing Day and will be on at 2pm and 7.30pm.
It then runs from December 27 to 29, daily at 2pm and 7,30pm; December 30, 2pm; January 2 to 5 at 2pm and January 5 at 7.30pm.