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March 2002
Kenneth returns to the stage
Kenneth Alan Taylor

This will be Kenneth's 19th pantomime in Nottingham.

After not appearing in Dick Whittington, Kenneth Alan Taylor is preparing to don an elaborate frock again this year.

Kenneth Alan Taylor, a name synonymous with pantos in the county, is already at work preparing for his 19th panto at the Nottingham Playhouse.

It is only weeks since his last performance finished.

However, as soon as one show finishes production meetings start for the next pantomime.

After 18 years in panto you might wonder where he draws his inspiration from.

But, this year he's reworking Beauty and the Beast
, a story that he's never done as a pantomime before.

No matter what the critics say, Kenneth still considers panto to be an art form.

He says, "I'm a cheap version of Shakespeare, I keep doing the same plays over and over again".

"I'm a cheap version of Shakespeare, I keep doing the same plays over and over again".
Kenneth Alan Taylor

For the forthcoming show he had to invent a dame, but was pleasantly surprised that the original text of Beauty and the Beast had two ugly sisters, not dissimilar to another famous panto.

Unlike other productions he doesn't rely on former soap or pop stars to draw in the crowds.

He prefers to spend
the budget on costumes and set design believing reputation is enough to bring in the crowds.

You cannot argue with the man whose pantomimes continue to sell out year on year

Interview with Kenneth Alan Taylor:
Where are you from, and how did you come to work with the Playhouse?
I am from London but have lived in the north of England for 43 years. I came to the Playhouse as director 19 years ago and stayed for seven years.
Why do you keep coming back to Nottingham and more specifically the Playhouse?
When I left the Playhouse I was asked to continue presenting pantomime, this will be the 19th consecutive year of my pantos at the theatre.
Why did you choose to do 'Beauty and the Beast'?
I have a series of traditional pantos, they are presented in a cycle, but I wanted something new, hence Beauty and the Beast. I wanted a story that children would know, Disney has made this subject popular, but I have gone back to the original version.
What are people from Nottingham really like?
People from Nottingham are very warm and friendly and wonderful to perform panto, to as they really go along with the fun.
Who do you enjoy working with the most?
I like working with people who are committed, do not have egos, professional in their work, and most important - have a good sense of humour!
How much fun do you have on stage?
In panto, no two performances are the same, so a lot of fun is had, BUT the audience must be in on the joke, I will not stand for private jokes amongst the cast.
Is there anyone who could ever take your place?
No one is indispensable.
What do you think to the sky mirror, and did you have pigeon pie?
I love the sky mirror mainly because it reflects the Albert Hall and so one has a constant image of the new and the old in harmony. I do not understand the pigeon pie reference - sorry!
Who could play you in a performance about your life?
I have never thought about it, but I'd love Anthony Hopkins to do it as he is such a great actor, but I doubt that it will ever happen.
How better or worse is Nottingham since you first began?
Nottingham as a city has improved so much in the past 19 years, super shops, restaurants and a vast improvement of late with the loss of the subway by the theatre.
How do you keep finding inspiration?
I find each year that I learn from the audiences and thus I rewrite as soon as a panto is finished to learn the lessons of that year.

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