Deadly Nightshade is your panto villain in Shoreham!

Laura Hyde will be Deadly Nightshade in Shoreham's panto Robin Hood at the Ropetackle this Christmas.

Laura Hyde
Laura Hyde

For Laura, it will be a rare foray into conventional panto.

“I have done quite a few pantos, but it has usually been the more alternative versions. This is the first time it was a regional theatre.

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“I started off, after I graduated, doing a couple of touring pantos that went into schools and social clubs. It was a Christmas panto. I started with a company called Chaplins.

“That was my first job, and then I was with another company after that called Pyramid.

“It was early starts. We drove the van around and you had to set up the set yourself. But you got to meet a lot of people and it was good fun. The first tour we did was South Wales and south-west England.”

And then Laura went into adult pantos for a couple of years in Leicester Square.

So just how adult is an adult panto?

“Well, it was quite adult! It was quite naughty. But it was good fun. During the week, it was at normal times and then on a Saturday we would do 7.30 and 9pm.

“I did that for two years, 2012 and 2013. I do quite a lot of cabaret stuff and it was a bit like than, more than usual panto.

“It was great for building confidence. I have done a lot of hosting, so it was good.”

Now comes Shoreham, and the tale of Robin Hood.

The evil Sheriff of Nottingham is fed up with his riches being robbed and will stop at nothing to rule supreme in Sherwood Forest, but there is one man standing firmly in his way…

The Sheriff has a dastardly plan to capture the finest archer in the land and maybe bag himself a much revered Silver Turnip along the way.

Will good win out? Will love triumph?

This will be the Ropetackle’s funniest, biggest and boldest pantomime, the producers promise – and the satisfying thing is that Laura got the job herself, without having an agent.

“I was just looking at various sites that I use, and I saw that Shoreham was advertising. I sent off my CV and then I went for an audition.

“ I went in and did a song and they emailed me the day after to say would I like the job.

“I was quite pleased to have got the job myself.

“This year I have had a good year and haven’t got an agent. I have been in this industry quite a while and you get to know people. You get to meet people and you make contacts.

“The more you do, the more you can work and the more you can sell yourself.”

But Laura would hope to get an agent before too long: “I have got a few meetings with people in the New Year. You can easily do quite a lot of stuff yourself without, but then you get to a certain level where you really do need an agent, like branching out into TV and film, which is what I want to do.”

Shoreham will be a convenient panto for Laura who lives in south-east London.

For the rehearsals and the first week she will commute, but after that she will be moving down to the south coast with her husband.