10 Questions for Lee Mead Ahead of Cinderella at Hull New Theatre

lee mead interview cinderella hull new theatre

Roger Crow chats to Lee Mead about Cinderella at Hull New Theatre…

1. You’re a bit of a panto veteran, this being your 11th year. What keeps you coming back for more?
I still love Christmas and as hard as it is to be away from the family other than Christmas Day and our days off, to perform in panto each year is so much fun, especially knowing that you are entertaining all the families and children getting them into the Christmas spirit.

2. What can we look forward to in Cinderella?
An amazing cast, brilliant set, great comedy with Neil Hurst as he is back again this year. This is my first time working with Neil and even after a couple of days of rehearsals he is making us all laugh. He’s so funny, the audience are going to love him as Buttons. We also have wonderful dance numbers and lots songs as well.

3. What are the key three things for a good panto?
A great cast, a positive company that all want to entertain and make people happy over the Christmas period and a great production. We have all three.

4. What’s the first panto you saw as a kid, and will you ever forget it?
I can’t quite remember my very first panto but I do remember seeing Jack and the Beanstalk at the Southend and Cliffs Pavilion as a young boy and remembering how much fun it was.

5. What do you hope the new generation of panto fans will take from your latest extravaganza?
That when they grow up they will take their children too. I’ve always said one of the most special things about panto is that it is not like any other form of theatre in the sense that you have the grandparents, parents and grandchildren all coming along to the theatre together. That makes it very unique.

lee mead interview6. What is it like working alongside Neil Hurst who has become a bit of a panto legend in Hull in recent years?
He’s a lovely man and we are only a few days into rehearsal but I know this is going to be a brilliant run and a lot of fun. He’s very funny.

7. Will there be plenty of gags for grown-ups – or do they have to bring their own?
We are working through the script at the moment but from what I can tell so far there will definitely be a few gags for the grown-ups as well that will go completely over the children’s heads which is very much panto tradition.

8. You recently completed a summer season in We Will Rock You, what was it like working on such an iconic show?
It was incredible. Never in my life did I think I would ever get to work with and meet Brian May, Roger Taylor and Ben Elton. We did 100 shows over 12 weeks at the London Coliseum which is the biggest Theatre in the West End and every show was virtually sold out. I got to play the evil villain Khashoggi which was my first baddie role. I loved it.

9. In recent years you’ve swapped your coat of many colours for hospital scrubs as Ben “Lofty” Chiltern in Casualty – which do you prefer stage or screen?
If I had to choose, I would probably say being on stage slightly more but I do love working in television. It’s longer days but you do reach a wider audience and working on camera is very different to putting on the stage production.

10. What have you got planned for Christmas and New Year?
I currently have a contract with my own show for P&O cruises and I fly around the world one week a month which is lovely as I never got to travel much when I was younger. I also do a lot of concerts with my band around the UK and I am currently working on a new TV project that we are hoping to pitch the end of next year. I’m also writing a new two-hander play with songs with my friend Suzie Chard which is exciting. Auditions also come up throughout the year for TV and theatre so I am excited to see what will come next.

Lee Mead can be seen in ‘Cinderella’ at Hull New Theatre from December 16, 2023 to January 7, 2024

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