Panto is the most fun a performer can have

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Oh yes it did! Katie Gregson’s love of performing grew from being in the Burniston pantomime put on in the village hall every February.

From the age of 10, she was in the show, progressing from the chorus to principal girl.

Ready for Christmas the new Spa panto Cinderella.Katie Gregson, left, and Georgina Parkinson.

Ready for Christmas the new Spa panto Cinderella.Katie Gregson, left, and Georgina Parkinson.

Now the 22-year-old is stepping out as a professional in the Scarborough Spa’s panto. This is her second year at the seafront venue. She was the villainous Victoria Vanity vamping it up in Mother Goose last year. This time she has the ‘Aah-factor’ as Prince Charming in Cinderella.

“I always say it was Burniston panto that got me started in the profession,” said Katie. “That’s where I learned the ropes. I gained invaluable experience from being a part of that,” she said.

“Panto is the most fun you can have as a performer. You get to sing, dance and act.”

Katie has also performed at the YMCA in Scarborough and she also tours to venues in the town and surrounding area with Simply Musicals – a show put together by her friend James Aconley, who is directing the YMCA panto The Sleeping Beauty this year.

Despite her love of song and dance, Katie, who went to Lindhead and Scalby schools, originally planned to be a primary school teacher and did work experience in infant schools. It was when she went to Scarborough Sixth Form College, where she studied music and drama, it dawned on her that she could do this for a living.

She graduated from university in Newcastle with a degree in musical theatre and acting. As well as touring and panto, Katie has been working on an album of original songs in a Sheffield studio with the producers of Sing – the song by Gary Barlow and Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. She describes her style as jazz with a pop twist and work will resume on the album in the new year.

When not performing and singing, Katie works in Taylors cafe in Bar Street, Scarborough. “As much as I love it, I always think I should be performing but I have to earn money as well as audition for roles,” she said. She lives with her parents Mike and Sharon at their guest house Smugglers Rock in Ravenscar. Her brother Nick, 25, lives in Edinburgh and also works in theatre. He is a talented lighting designer.

Her family and boyfriend, David, a quantity surveyor, will all be going to the pantomime. In the day off she gets between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, Katie will be revelling in the season.

“I love Christmas,” she said. “In fact I like any time that involves dressing up, putting up decorations and the giving of cards and presents,” she said,

And if proof were needed, just ask the youngsters from Hatton School of Performing Arts who are in Cinderella with her. She baked them all gingerbread biscuits to share during the technical rehearsal for the panto.

Also sharing the stage with Katie in this year’s production are newcomers Mark Two and Lea Holmes who are playing the Ugly Sisters. Mark is also directing the production. Also new to the Spa is Georgina Parkinson in the lead role of Cinderella.

This year’s line-up also sees the return of Spa favourites Rebecca Christian and Paul Ludlow who featured in this year’s Spa summer shows. Also returning is Phil Beck, who lives in Flamborough.

Show Producer Tony Peers said “We are delighted to be back at the Spa, Scarborough with this year’s pantomime Cinderella. We have secured two of the best dames in the country in Mark Two and LeeaHolmes, who will play Ugly Sisters Ravishing Rita and Wicked Wanda. All in all we have a fantastic cast and it is certainly a must for all the family this Christmas.”

Cinderella opens today and runs at various times until Wednesday January 1.