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Why Katie Pitchard Loves Christmas in Worthing

katie pritchard
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Fairy lights

Why the award-winning comedian, musician and actor Katie Pritchard wouldn’t be anywhere else but Worthing for Christmas

Ah, the festive season; a time of merriment, overindulgence and for one pantomime performer, a time to catch up on sleep. And who can deny Katie Pritchard a full day’s rest during the Worthing Christmas panto run, where she stars as Fairy Amethyst in this year’s Sleeping Beauty. 

“My parents come to Worthing from London with tupperware filled with Christmas dinner, so we pop it in the microwave and then it’s a long walk on the beach and back home to bed after a few more roast potatoes,” chuckles the actor whose theatrical credits include Dreamboats and Petticoats in the West End.

“It doesn’t sound fun, but we have a fake Christmas Day when I return from panto. I used to try and get home for Christmas Day, but it just doesn’t work with the schedules. It’s only a day, isn’t it? You can do Christmas Day any day!”

For Katie, there’s nowhere she’d rather be than bringing fun and frivolity to audiences at the Pavilion Theatre, for the fourth consecutive year having previously starred as Jack, in Jack and the Beanstalk, Crepe Suzette in Beauty and the Beast, and The Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. “There’s something so special about panto isn’t there that you just couldn’t not do it,” adds the endearing bright-eyed comedian. 

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Growing up in a family that cherished music and harmony, it was no surprise that Katie, a multi-talented performer, would follow suit. Her parents created a seven-part harmony vocal group when they were expecting her. She believes her prenatal exposure to the performing arts literally set the tone for her future career choice. “I feel like that’s given me a little head start on the old voice and a knack for appreciating harmonies,” smiles Katie.

As if it wasn’t enough, Katie made her debut on stage at the tender age of six months, playing the role of Baby Jesus. Recounting the experience, she says: “My mum’s friend had to carry me up some scaffolding as part of the show. My mum was understandably worried, but it all turned out just fine.”

After studying at the Chickenshed Theatre in North London and performing arts at Buckinghamshire New University, Katie has continued to thrive as a versatile performer, transitioning between quirky comedy, music, and acting. She enjoys the diversity of the live circuit, where she can engage with a wide range of audiences.

Yet Panto remains the highlight of her year. “It’s really cool because you’re a part of everyone’s Christmas. For a lot of people, it’s their first experience of the theatre. Worthing is great for inclusivity and accessibility, so you’ll find relaxed shows to dementia friendly performances.”

Of course, some shows have their fair share of farcical moments and aren’t as slick as others, but Katie believes the trick is trying to make sure that the audience doesn’t notice. “As an actor you have to improvise and work around whatever’s going on,” she smiles.

She giggles as she recalls an incident in last year’s Jack and the Beanstalk. “We call it ‘The Shy Giant’ moment because the giant prop reveal didn’t happen, and we had to pretend he was just tall and gesture towards the air. The rest of the cast didn’t realise the giant wasn’t there and it was funny to see them jump on stage to fight something invisible.”

This year’s offering promises all the best-loved panto shenanigans live on stage, peppered with the classic ingredients – slapstick, baddies, cheesy gags, special effects, singalongs, and plenty of audience participation. 

Alongside Katie, Marcavia McCarthey stars as Sleeping Beauty, fringe favourite Patrick Monahan returns to Worthing starring as the Evil Underlord, joined by Ross Muir as Queen Dorathia, and comedy geek and Magic Circle member Jay Rawlings, who will make his Worthing panto debut starring as Muddles.

Katie expresses her excitement for this year’s role: “They’ve written me a really nice character. There’ll be lots of shenanigans and kerfuffle that I get into. I can’t wait.”

Sleeping Beauty: The Pantomime is at the Pavilion until Monday 1 January 2024. See more at wtm.uk

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