Bognor Regis panto set to open

Joey Wilby heads down to Bognor Regis for his first professional panto this Christmas, Jack and the Beanstalk at the Regis Centre.

Joey Wilby
Joey Wilby

Still only 18 years old, he has completed two years at the Emil Dale Academy – and is already finding the work coming in nicely.

“Since I left, I have been offered an awful lot of work which is lovely.”

He spent September this year in an Abba theatre show, “an immersive show with stuff happening while people are eating.”

Originally from Leeds, “a fab city”, Joey got into the entertainments business just through performing with local societies.

“I got into it that way and having a real love for it, I started doing pantos and I started being a comic.”

Over the years, he has done a variety of roles, but it’s that comic role again that he will be slipping into for Bognor Regis, playing Silly Billy. He is promising plenty of fun.

“A lot of it has got to be very interactive with the audience.

“He is the one that the kids want to laugh at. He is the person that leads the audience along and he is the one that the audience all have a good laugh with.

“He pulls the story along, causes chaos and has a laugh! It is great fun to do, but you have got to remember that the story is important.

“A lot of the children will be in the theatre for the first time and you want them to know what is happening and to have a good time.

“It is very important to introduce them to the fun world that is our career!”

Joey’s previous roles include Legally Blonde (Emmett Forest), Our House (Emmo), Les Misérables (Marius), Aladdin (Wishee Washee), Sleeping Beauty (Willy) and Robin Hood & The Babes (Friar Tuck). But this is his first professional pantomime.

“But I have been very lucky. I have just done some entertainment at a resort in Scotland for three months. We did the entertainment and the production shows and we also did a panto three times a week. This now is really the next step on. I am really looking forward to the Christmas season.”

Joey’s first sight of Bognor was for the panto launch on a gloriously sunny day back in September, and yes, plenty of people were quick to point out that Bognor Regis isn’t always like that.

“But I am loving it. I went down to the pier this morning.

“It is all lovely. It feels like we are in Spain with the sun and the sea!”

Jack and the Beanstalk is at the Regis Centre from Wednesday, December 8-Sunday, January 2.

Tickets from the venue.