Hometown panto debut as Eastbourne's Christmas spectacular opens

Eastbourne-based actor/singer Nicholas Pound makes his home-town panto debut this Christmas.

Nicholas Pound
Nicholas Pound

Nicholas will be King Clarence in Sleeping Beauty which comes promised as “bigger, better and booking fast” and the “dream pantomime” at Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne from December 10-January 9.

Nicholas, who has played leading roles in Les Miserables, The Rocky Horror Show, Chess, Evita, Notre Dame de Paris and Man of La Mancha, moved to Old Town in Eastbourne five years ago, having lived in Spain for nine years where he was the founder of vocal harmony group Tres Divos and hosted his own weekly radio show The Sound of Musicals on Talk Radio Europe.

“I was living on the Costa del Sol. I had a holiday rental business out there but I carried on theatre work and I kept popping back to the UK where I’ve done quite a few pantomimes mostly in the Horsham area originally. And then I started doing some singing out in Spain and I had my own singing group.

“But we decided to come back for many reasons and sell up in Spain five years ago. We had friends in the area and Eastbourne seemed a good place to go. I knew with my property investor’s head on that whenever I toured to Eastbourne before, Eastbourne always seemed like a good place and so it was always buzzing around in the back of my head. And also coming back from the Costa del Sol we thought we might as well plonk ourselves by the seaside. It has been good. It has also been challenging but it was also the right decision. There is still a lot about Spain that we really love but not the bureaucracy and the Spanish administration! At least over here we know how things work and even when they don’t work, at least we know the system.

“Workwise one of the reasons for coming back was that I needed things to be easier to travel up to London for auditions rather than having to arrange a flight back for a ten-minute audition which was time consuming but also hugely expensive. And there are certain jobs that I have been able to do now that I wouldn’t have done if we had still been living in Spain.”

Nicolas is delighted now to be appearing in Eastbourne’s panto: “I did my first panto in 1994 and that was in Southampton. It was Dick Whittington with Lesley Joseph and that was a really good place to start. I was the Sultan of Morocco. And now this is probably my 12th or 13th pantomime. I have played everything from sultans to Abanazar. I usually play what I call the old fart parts like the king or Baron Hardup, usually the father of the beautiful girl.

“Panto is such a huge amount of fun. It is also a huge amount of work. But it is huge fun on stage and off stage. You have a great time on stage within the confines of your script and I love the immediate interaction that you have with the audiences. I’m not sure how that will work this year.

“Pantomime is as traditional to Christmas as tinsel and mince pies. It is something that people feel compelled to do. It is proper family entertainment and for many British families it is the only time that they go to the theatre in a year. And actually in British theatre it is such a staple for so many theatres. For some small theatres it is what gets them through the year. And as I say it is proper family entertainment. For many children it’s usually the first thing they ever see in the theatre and if they are three or four or five, they just love the joy of the colour and the movement and the dancers and the kings and the queens and the baddies and the goodies. They have this whole great package. They are delighted and they are scared and we all know that they love being scared and they can join in with the songs and they can shout and boo. It’s a wonderful tradition.”

Tickets on 01323 412000 or online eastbournetheatres.co.uk.