To the drama students he teaches at a Lowestoft high school, Thom Bailey is simply known as ‘Sir’. But this Christmas, the 34-year-old is preparing to transform into a pantomime character that is set to break theatre tradition. Thom is poised to play the pivotal part of Carabosse, the wicked fairy in this year’s Beccles pantomime Sleeping Beauty.
Regionally, Craig Revel Horwood and Paul O’Grady are renowned for this type of role, but it will be the first time locally that a male performer has played a female villain.
“I’m really excited as Spark Live Pantomimes are breaking new ground,” said Thom, who teaches at Ormiston Denes Academy.
“We haven’t started rehearsals yet, but I have been preparing and drawing inspiration from the strong women in my family.
“Carabosse isn’t solely a comedic character and if I get a lot of boos then I will feel I’ve done a good job. She just genuinely delights in causing mayhem and she does it with glee.”
Thom’s interest in drama and theatre began at a young age, thanks to the support of his late father, who enjoyed his love of entertainment and doing impressions.
Following a degree in drama and an MA in theatre directing, Thom began running the youth section at St George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth, as well as directing and starring in shows across many East Anglian theatres.
Aside from playing Carabosse, Thom is directing the pantomime for the first time.
“When the school hired me they were looking for someone who had experience of working professionally in a theatre and the discipline and etiquette that comes with putting on a show, so it will be nice to show them what I can do.
“Twenty members of the school faculty are coming to watch on opening night and now the students are starting to catch on that I’m in it. Some have been telling me I look a lot like the person on the panto posters!”
Sleeping Beauty is being performed at Beccles Public Hall from December 21 until 31. To book tickets, call 01502 770060, or visit www.becclespublichall.com
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