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Once Upon A Time, I Was In My First Panto

Just a quick warning, this is going to be a huge rambling post from me! I had no idea where this post was going when I started writing it but I felt like I had a lot to say so I went with it!


Despite barely posting on social media lately, I haven't made it a secret that this January I was in my first ever Pantomime with the Dryburn Theatrical Workshop. This year, we did Beauty and The Beast, an absolutely fantastic panto and I loved every second of it.

Being part of this group has become so important to me already, so I knew I had to share a post all about my first ever show week. It was a real struggle for me, but also probably one of the best weeks of my life! I did things I never thought I would do, and had the greatest feeling when I was on stage which really surprised me as I thought it would take a few shows before I started to feel comfortable on stage.

When I walked into the first rehearsal, I'm not gonna lie the majority of me wanted to run out and never return. I am so painfully shy, I don't even know what confidence is, so being in a room full of strangers, singing and dancing in front of them, was probably the scariest thing I've ever done. I would go home for weeks crying in frustration at myself because I didn't have the confidence to talk to anyone there. I forced myself into the back of every dance number so I didn't have anyone stood behind me watching me dance. But I knew it was something I really wanted to do, so I stuck with it.

I'm so pleased I did stick with it, because after working really hard to remember the dance moves and to try and actually look half decent whilst dancing, I suddenly realised that I was actually enjoying the dancing! I was worried I wouldn't manage it with my fibromyalgia, but I just made sure I took my time with the dancing, didn't push myself straight away until I knew that my joints could handle each dance move. I'm pleased I did this as it meant I didn't injure myself and was actually able to become a dancer! I also pushed myself out of my social boundaries by attending basically any party or get together I was invited to in an attempt to get to know people better so I could be more comfortable and confident with them all, and this really helped too (shout out to prosecco and gin for all your help with this!)



I was honestly so pleased when I was asked to be in a few extra dances. It felt very surreal and even now I don't like saying I'm one of the dancers (even though I've been told numerous times I am, and was even in the programme as a dancer). A part of me worried that if people saw me up there dancing, they'd think I'd actually been lying about my fibro all this time. I was genuinely surprised that I was able to dance without being thrown into a huge flare up every night.


I will be honest, I think it was pure adrenaline that kept me going through show week. We had a show on the Thursday night, Friday night, a matinee and evening show on the Saturday and then a final matinee show on the evening. On top of that, I had just started my new job, so I was completely knackered. I also had a lot of dancing to do, so by the Saturday I was barely able to walk. I've never tried so hard to hide the pain before! I actually had one of the other dancers help me stretch out my back in between shows on the Saturday, I have no strength in my muscles to hold my back straight so it is overly curved, which after a while gets very painful so I had to stretch it the other way for a bit of relief.

credit: Signature Times Photography

Once I was on stage, I just couldn't feel it. The excitement and adrenaline completely took over! I was so thankful for that as without it I don't know how I would have went on! But despite the extra pain and fatigue I experienced, it was completely worth it. I may have been so excited to go to sleep on the Sunday night, but I was also incredibly gutted that the show had finished. As you can see in the photos above, I was in the cancan dance, which nearly killed me off every time. I've never tried so hard in my entire life at a dance but I really wanted to look good doing it. I forced a smile on my face every time (although it actually wasn't that forced, hearing the audience clapping along, whooping and also laughing at us shimmying our bums made the whole experience actually quite enjoyable!), but after the show was finished I was sat in my room wishing I was back on stage doing the cancan!


I would still say I'm pretty shy, but doing that panto has really improved my confidence both with the people I was on stage with and also with everyone else. I still laugh at the first thing my sister said to me: "I didn't expect you to be that good!" To be fair, I'm still not sure I was any good, but everyone who came to see it seemed to really enjoy it. I'm also just genuinely so so happy and thankful that I was able to get through the week, albeit with a few cries at home because of the pain! It was all worth it though, and I can't wait to do it again.

Unfortunately I actually have to miss the next show! It falls on the week of me coming back from Florida and one of my besties wedding so I'm skipping it, but I'm already raring to go for the next panto! I'll also be helping out where I can backstage during show week, and I'm also so excited to be able to watch the show! Every single person at Dryburn is so talented and just so lovely, it's been a pleasure to be able to see them all performing on stage so I can't wait to see them absolutely smash it in their next performance in June: The Addams Family! I'll be sharing loads about this show too, but you can check out Dryburns Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for some sneak peaks and all the info you need for booking tickets!

Abbey xx

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