THE pantomime season is now in full swing (oh yes it is etc!) so we caught up with seasoned panto dame David Ball who is directing and starring in Sleeping Beauty at Bournemouth Pavilion to get a peak behind the scenes...

What do you think of Bournemouth?

Oh I love Bournemouth! It’s my favourite venue for panto, I’ve done panto. I’ve done panto here for three years now, it’s great to be here over Christmas, there’s a real sense of festivity, the theatre is fab. I love all of the staff there, they’re brilliant. It’s a lot of fun, Bournemouth is a great place to be over Christmas.

What’s your favourite thing about panto?

People ask me this and it changes, I think it’s the children, the kids watching the kids enjoy themselves. There’s something quite special and magical about that. We have such a great time on stage and when you look out into the audience and see a little girl dressed as a princess, and a little boy dressed as buttons their reactions are so innocent and real - they really believe what they see and there’s something so special about that. We live in a very political world so it’s nice to see kids having fun and being themselves and it’s a really lovely thing.

What’s your favourite thing about playing a nurse/dame?

I’ve only done dame once before, I’m usually a baddie or an ugly sister, so it’s a really exciting thing, one to not have someone next to me as my assistant and two, to play a nice character so I don’t know is the answer because it’s a very new experience. I’m looking forward to being nice, being able to smile and to not be booed!

What have you been working on since the panto? I’m not so much an actor now, I’m more of a producer and agent – it’s my 9-5 job. The only acting I do is panto. I’m directing Sleeping Beauty as well as being in it and I’m doing a bit of directing throughout the year as well as representing actors. Panto is the one time when I’m back on stage and it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

How long have you been doing panto?

This will be my 17th or 18th year of doing it, my first one is 2001. I’ve done one every single year, I’ve never had one off. My favourite is Cinderella as I’ve done Cinderella the most, but I do enjoy Sleeping Beauty because there’s a lot of fun, slapstick and comedy.

This production is magical because we have flying sequences and time travel stuff!There’s also a lot of fun between myself and Noel who plays Silly Billy. He plays my son, so we have a lot of comedy moments and then slapstick together. It’s a lovely story.This is my first time of directing Sleeping Beauty and being Nurse, but this will be my first Sleeping Beauty.

Can you juggle both directing and starring in the panto? I think so, I’ve got a great creative team around me. I’ve got a great choreographer who’s brilliant and very excited. They do a lot of great work! We’ve also got a brilliant musical director,so I’ve got a good team around me - so when I need to be on stage and be in nurse mode,I can rely on the brilliance of Andrew and Sam who I’ve worked with before, so there’s a nice reassurance.”

* Tickets: £16.50 to £22.50. To book, call BH Live Tickets on 0844 576 3000 or book online at or visit the Bournemouth Pavilion/BIC box office.

Sleeping Beauty runs at Bournemouth Pavilion every day until Sunday, January 6 at 2.30pm and 7pm.