Casting for touring pantomimes

West End in Schools is casting musical theatre actors to join its touring pantomime casts visiting primary schools across England and Wales.

We are looking for actors who have a professional theatre credit, or who have graduated from an accredited drama school. You must be available from Monday 2 to Friday 20 December 2019 and for rehearsal dates in November (different casts rehearse on different weeks so there is some flexibility in November).

Please note that we use hire cars so you must be 22 or older, and have had a driving license for over 1 year. You must have either a DBS check or a clear criminal record (including no cautions for violent behaviour) and be happy to be DBS checked.

West End in Schools truly are wonderful to work for and definitely aren’t your average TIE company. In the two panto seasons that I’ve done with them, I’ve felt valued and respected as a performer. The organisation and planning is second to none, so that we, as actors, have a much easier time. The way the covering is planned makes it possible to take time off for auditions, meaning you can relax and enjoy the job (which really is pretty rewarding and fun)!
— Elana Martin - Ellen, Miss Saigon UK & Ireland Tour 2018/19

Panto with West End in Schools:

  • Be part of a high quality pantomime for children, written, directed and designed by theatre professionals and featuring an original script and score.

  • Play a leading role. Each of our pantomimes is led by two actors, meaning it is your job to carry the show. Most characters involve multi-roling and some also involve puppetry.

  • Be home for Christmas and New Year (and in between!) - and get guaranteed time off for auditions!

  • Work with an established director during the rehearsal process.

  • Make a real difference to children all over the country. For the majority of your audience this will be their first experience of live theatre, and you will be the highlight of their Christmas!

School pantomimes

Who else does this, and why?

We believe that every child's imagination should be inspired by the arts; they deserve an experience every bit as powerful as they would have if they went to a professional theatre. We use professional theatre makers to create and present original scripts and music in primary schools nation wide.

There are over 150 actors who have performed these pantomimes including: Abi Finley, Adam Small, Anthony Ray, Arvid Larsen, Belinda Wollaston, Beth Linsdell, Charlie Bull, Christina Tedders, Christopher Chandler, Dylan Turner, Edwin Ray, Elana Martin, Emma Harrold, Ellis Kerkhoven, Emma Jane Morton, Emma Odell, Emily Jane Kerr, Gary Wood, Gillian Ford, Haley Flaherty, Helen Colby, James Templeton, Jamie Ross, Jonny Godbold, Kara Lane, Kevin Brewis, Llandyll Gove, Luke Farrugia, Lucinda Shaw, Marc Antolin, Mark Willshire, Matt Quinn, Matthew McDonald, Natalie Day, Nicola Avino, Nikita Johal, Richard Carson, Sarah Harlington, Sharon Sexton, Sheridan Lloyd, Simon Lipkin, Simon Willmont, Simon Shorten, Tasha Sheridan and Tricia Adele-Turner.

The West End in Schools office team is Carys Gray, Katie Muir, Nigel Godfrey, Rachel Bellman, Roxani Kamperou and Sophia Tuffin. Before working in schools the company (as Blue Box Entertainment Ltd) previously general managed Jerry Springer - The Opera (in Edinburgh, at the National and in the West End), Bat Boy the Musical (at West Yorkshire Playhouse, and in the West End), Eurobeat (in Edinburgh, on tour and West End), Round the Horne and the National Theatre production of Noises Off.

The shows

The shows are 1 hour, performed by one boy and one girl, and are performed in primary school halls on a traverse stage with simple but elegant set, props and costumes. We try really hard to make these shows a brilliant introduction to musical theatre for the children! Andrew Emerson (our writer) is a noted writer of children's TV programmes including Rastamouse and Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed. Alex Silverman (our composer) has co-written 3 musicals, composed for 11 productions at Shakespeare's Globe and written for plays at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Royal Court, Young Vic etc.

The creative team is:

Director: Ryan McBryde (Aladdin, Cinderella, Scroogical!), Abi Rosser (Beauty and the Beast) and Owen Lewis (Dick Whittington)
Writers: Alex Silverman and Andrew Emerson
Choreographer: Abi Rosser
Designers: Mia Flodquist (Aladdin and Cinderella) and Phil Eddolls (Scroogical!, Beauty and the Beast, Dick Whittington)
Puppets for Dick Whittington: Jonny Dixon
Staff Directors: Abi Rosser, Roxy Joy Cook, Ellie Taylor and Marcus Bazley.

You can read what we tell schools about the shows on our school pantomimes web page and some of their reviews of our work here

A day on the road

Each cast gives up to three performances per day, typically visiting one school in the morning for one or two performances and another in the afternoon.

We allow our cast members time off for auditions or other professional work (ie work through your agent) and as such we rehearse lots of extra people and share the work around.

We expect you to be flexible and helpful with covering last minute work when we are covering late notice auditions - which of course means extra paid days of work for you.

You will learn one of Aladdin, Cinderella, Scroogical!, Beauty and the Beast or Dick Whittington and will perform opposite a range of other actors - we don't have fixed pairings. This makes performing fun and keeps things fresh!

Time commitment and pay

  • a 90 minute music call, usually the week before rehearsals

  • for Aladdin, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and Dick Whittington:

    • three days of rehearsal (e.g. Wednesday, Friday, Monday or Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday) in November.

    • a learning fee of £250 for the above providing that you are off book for the run and have prepped for your music call, or £200 if we have to bring you back to either of the above

  • for Scroogical!:

    • four days of rehearsal in November.

    • a learning fee of £350 for the above providing that you are off book for the run, and have prepped for your music call, or £300 if we have to bring you back to either of the above

  • around seven to ten performance days at £100/day - perhaps more - mainly in December. There are also some shows are in November and January.

  • more work in the spring on other shows or workshops if it goes well for you and us.

The scheduling doesn't tend to work well for people who have a lot of fixed engagements in their weeks, and you will need a base in London.

The roles

Playing Aladdin, Widow Twankey

Playing Princess Jasmine, Abanazer, Genie of the Lamp

Playing Prince, Furry Dogfather, Ugly Sister

Playing Cinderella, Ugly Sister

Playing Alfie the Christmas Spirit boss, Scrooge and Mrs Cratchit

Playing Chrissie the Trainee Christmas Spirit, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, Fenella Fezzywig, the three Christmas Spirits and other incidental characters

Playing The Beast, Marcel and Beauty's Father

Playing Beauty

Playing Dick, puppeteer Tommy the cat

Playing Queen Rat/Vermyntrude, Cap'n Alice, the Sultana, puppeteer Tommy the cat

How to apply

  • You must be able to drive and be 22 or older - we use hire cars!

  • You must have had a driving license for at least one year.

  • You must either have a DBS check or have a clear criminal record (including no cautions for violent behaviour) and be happy to be DBS checked.

  • You must be available from Monday 2 to Friday 20 December 2019 and for the rehearsal dates in November. Different teams rehearse in different weeks so there is some flexibility in November. There are also some shows in January 2020 for those who are available and still have some panto in them!

To apply fill out our quick application form on this link. You can do this from a computer or a phone.

If you are an agent who would like more information please click here for our FAQs.