Meet Hannah Ponting, our Cinderella in Hastings

Hannah Ponting is our Cinderella at Hastings’ White Rock Theatre this Christmas – her second time as Cinders and her fifth panto in all.
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“I played Alice Fitzwarren in 2016 in Milton Keynes and that was my panto debut. And then a couple of years later I did Jill in Jack and The Beanstalk which was at the Newbury Corn Exchange and then I did Cinderella just outside Chester and then last year was my first time doing panto with Imagine Theatre and in that I was dance captain.”

Now she is Cinderella: “And it is just going to be so much fun. I've been so lucky that all the companies that I have worked with in panto and all the casts and all the crew have been so lovely and so friendly. Rehearsals and performances are such an intense period that you just become a family very fast and you have such fantastic fun together.

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"But pantos have got so much to them. You've got the storytelling but you've also got to have the truth and then you've got to have a lot of silly jokes. By truth I mean that you really have to believe in what you are playing. And Cinderella has got such a great story. She is not treated very well at all. In this version she dreams of a better life for herself. She gets to meet people and she gets to fall in love at the end. But she's not necessarily someone who is seeking love.

Hannah Ponting (pic by Paul Clapp)Hannah Ponting (pic by Paul Clapp)
Hannah Ponting (pic by Paul Clapp)

"The script is very much tailored towards giving us a Cinderella who is someone who has dreams of her own. She is not scared to go out and get them and to experience new things. It's not just your typical love story. As I say she is not just trying to fall in love. It's something that just happens and I think that's what makes her so interesting.

“But the other great thing about Cinderella is that she interacts with all the other characters. She has got the wicked step sisters and I think really it's just jealousy that they are so awful to her. It is maybe the fact that they're brought up by a horrible mother and they were a bit spoilt and they just don't think that Cinderella deserves anything at all.

“Everybody knows the Disney film version of Cinderella and I suppose this is similar of course. She is very fun to play but she's also a bit more feisty than people think.

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“This is the first time I have ever been to Hastings in my life. It's lovely. And the location here is absolutely amazing. It's rained every day since I got here and it's been very, very wet and cold but it's a lovely theatre. It's really nice. It's really big and it's great that our rehearsal space is under the stage which means it's the same size as the area that you are actually going to work on, and that’s a big help.”

Cinderella runs at Hastings White Rock Theatre from December 15-31.