Young stars on cue for panto, along with their Chaperones Vicky and Rachel

Juves in dressing room at Waterside Theatre.
Juves in dressing room at Waterside Theatre.

Every year young stars known as Juves take to the stage.

There are two teams of 12 Juves who perform on alternate days, aged between 7 and 15 years.

The youthful performers have all successfully passed an audition process leading them into the limelight. Many are from local dance school Musical Kidz Company and surrounding areas, and they’re looked after by Chaperones Vicky Fox and Rachel Drury.

What do rehearsals entail for the Juves?

VF: Rehearsals have already started as of Monday. The children come for two hours after school, then in the second week join the full cast in the auditorium for what is called tech week.

Have you been involved in the panto before?

RD: This is my 3rd year and the thing I love most is seeing the kids perform on stage because they absolutely love and enjoy it.

What’s the hardest part?

RD: Definitely the quick changes! Getting all 12 children changed really quickly and then brought back on stage in time for their cue is always a challenge!

VF: We have lots of responsibilities. We have to make sure they’re in the right places at the right time, that they’re behaving themselves and that we are following all performance laws. It’s quite involved but also really rewarding seeing the children grow in confidence. By the end of the run they’re brimming with pride and don’t want it to end!

Are you looking forward to working with this year’s cast?

VF: Very much so. I’ve worked with Andy Collins before and he’s great with the kids. I’m also really looking forward to having two strong female lead singers – Sam and Melanie are going to be fab.