Choreographer Rachel is calling the shots for Beauty and the Beast

A CHOREOGRAPHER is making moves in her hometown after honing her skills in London’s West End.

Rachel Sargent’s connection to pantomimes at Llandudno’s Venue Cymru began in childhood when she performed as one of the “babes” on stage.

But now she’s the one calling the shots in the brand-new production of Beauty and the Beast.

Rachel has moved home to Llandudno with her family after appearing on stage in hit West End shows such as Hairspray and Mamma Mia.

READ MORE: Young daughter Olivia makes this year’s panto extra special for actor James Lusted

Rachel said: “This area is massively important to me, as is this venue. The first professional show I ever did was here at Venue Cymru, and it was the first panto we ever did here, which was Jack and the Beanstalk.

“I did all the pantomimes here, from being a ‘juve’ right up to being a professional dancer. I went away to study in London and missed a few years of panto here when I was working in the West End. Now I’ve got my family I’ve come home. Being able to spend my Christmas here. Choreographing and bringing all that I’ve learnt performing and being creative in London back to the local area, working with local children and in this wonderful local theatre, is so important to me.

“I love it!”

Speaking on day two of rehearsals of Beauty and the Beast she said she was relishing the challenge of whipping the cast into shape before curtain up in just two weeks.

So, what is the biggest challenge when choreographing a panto?

Rachel said: “I think the biggest challenge is that you have so many people, such a range of people, in a number. For example, end of act one, I’ve got a dame and a comedian who need to be funny and bringing across their characters. Then I’ve got beautiful Belle bringing all the magic that a princess brings to the number. I’ve then got children as young as eight our nine up to 15, as well as the professional dancers. I need to make sure everyone feels comfortable in the number, everyone is seen, everyone is doing something that’s challenging to them, that’s not too easy for the professionals or too hard for the babes. It’s about all those different levels of work and adapting it so that everyone enjoys the number and brings the most to it that they can.

“That’s my hardest challenge, but its also the most rewarding.”

CBeebies star Rebecca Keatley leads the cast of Beauty and the Beast as Belle and will be joined by James Lusted and other venue favourites John Evans and Jason Marc Williams.

Additional cast includes Jenna Brandon, Mark Beauchamp, Neil Moors, Peter Lawrence, Erin Bell, Euan Libaudiere and George Lynham. 

It promises to be “an evening full of sparkle, slosh and laughs galore”.

The show runs from December 10 to 31.

North Wales Pioneer | Llandudno