As a follow up to this year’s successful Qingdao Pantomime production, we asked Rita Nielsen to fill us in on more of the details about this community event, the Qingdao Expat Group Charity, the actors involved and more.

People are saying great things about the 2010 Panto, Cinderella. Could you share some of the background about Panto in Qingdao?

Thanks to everyone for the kudos but, we have to thank and admire our Qindao Pantomime founder, Tamara Studniski. Four years ago Tamara and friends realized there wasn’t any English entertainment in Qingdao during the winter months. They all decided to bring the community together and form a committee and hold auditions for a British Pantomime. The first year was Rumplestiltskin, the following year was Aladdin, last year Robinson Crusoe and this year, of course, was Cinderella.

How many people attended this year? Is it over or are there more shows?

This year we had approximately 900 people attend the show. I would say, with all the positive feedback, there will be more shows.

How much money was raised for charity and to which cause is it for?

We raised 129,000 rmb. We spent 59,000 rmb on production. So 70,000 will be shared between next years Panto production and Qingdao Expat Charity Foundation. The Qingdao Expat Charity, with the help of the community and fundraising projects such as Pantomime and the Winter’s Ball, provide money for schools and hospitals. To read more about what we do see www.qindaoexpat.com and click on the link “Charity”.

We saw some of the photos from Cinderella, can you tell us some of the main actors’ names and roles?

This year we had a many familiar and fresh faces. Some were very new to the lead roles but really shined on stage. We had two veteran actors, Simon Fox (Salmonella, the ugly stepsister) and David Addicott (Baron Hardup). Some may know Tamara Studniski as Director/Producer/QISS teacher but this year you will remember her as Listeria, the other ugly stepsister. Cinderella, Rebecca Dotson, was on stage for the first time in Qingdao (not counting the Zumbathon, Panto fundraising events and Book Nook readings). We also had a few of our own “Qingdaonese” actors. Our Prince, Ava Marshall stepped it up and learned how to “move it “. Debby Cong (from Resource Pro) was a favorite dancer and stepped in tune for Cinderella’s double. The Prime Minister, Paul Yu, (“they will yank your chen”) gave us, and Qingdao University of Science and Technology something to be proud of.

Can anyone act in the Panto? How do people sign up for the next one?

We typically hold auditions in November at the Crowne Plaza and everyone is welcome. Next Fall we will inform everyone of the details here on QINGDAO(nese).

Are there any video copies of the performance, how can we get one to watch at home?

Cinderella Pantomime 2010 DVD’s are on sale now. We spent a little more on production this year and hope the quality and sound of the DVD pleases everyone. They are selling for 20 yuan (RMB). We also have plenty of Cinderella T’s and Tote Bags. The proceeds will help next years Panto charity project.

We’ve heard that finding a location to host the Panto was a challenge. How was the new venue this year?

I am new to producing the Pantomime this year. For me the biggest challenge we faced was finding a theatre in which to perform and a place to rehearse for the show. Many nights we rehearsed in my living room. In the past we had been able to use several local area schools for rehearsal and performance. This year we had two major issues. The H1N1 virus prevented us from using any school, and we are not a licensed business so getting a permit for entertaining in a public venue was difficult. We were fortunate, in the nick of time, to have QCCI allow us to use their new school theatre for free. It was clean, warm and bright. We are a volunteer charity group trying to entertain the community and give back to the local people. so we cannot afford the high expense of paying for a theatre.

How about next year’s Panto?

Next year’s Panto is still up for discussion. We have many shoes to fill and still need to find a permanent space to rehearse and perform.

For more information, please visit www.qingdaopanto.org, email qdpanto@yahoo.com, or directly contact Rita Nielsen at 139.6481.9925.

Photo Credits @ Steven Wang / ResourcePro

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