As the pantomime season approaches, two Coleg y Cymoedd tutors have taken a lead role in ensuring this year’s Rhondda Cynon Taf pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk, will follow the record breaking success of previous years.
The industry skills of both tutors Caroline Thomas and Richard Embling were evident in past productions and led to them being approached by Rhondda Cynon Taf Theatre for their professional touch on this year’s panto. The duo hopes to add that special touch of magic to the success of this traditional family show.
Caroline has led the Foundation Degree and BA (Hons) in Costume Construction for Screen and Stage at Coleg y Cymoedd since 2010 and has over 20 years’ experience, working extensively as a successful costumier; predominately in the theatre.
With her expertise in pattern cutting and construction she was Senior Costume Maker in the costume team at the Welsh National Opera working within repertory theatre, including the Bristol Old Vic and Theatre Clwyd.
No stranger to the screen and television industry, Caroline has also made costumes for feature films including Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and more recently the Dr. Who television series.
Since 2012 Richard joined the team at Coleg y Cymoedd and is employed as the prop making lecturer on the HND in Creative Production Arts course, specialising in prop making, body casting and mould making.
Richard graduated with a BA (Hons) Model Making for Design & Media from Bournemouth Arts Institute in 2006 and has worked on many live industry productions as a freelance costume prop, puppetry and small props maker.
He has worked with world renowned companies such as The Welsh National Opera making costume props for their main house production of Cosi Fan Tutte in 2012 and for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Welsh Rugby Union and P&O cruises.
This is the fourth year that learners studying on the Foundation Degree and B.A. (Hons) Costume Construction for Screen and Stage courses have been involved with the pantomime. Since September the second year learners have been working tirelessly, against extremely tight deadlines to produce the stunning range of costumes for the cast including Jack, Dame Trott, Fleshcreep, Fairy Flora, Princess Crumble and Utterly and Butterly.
Learner Amy Jones said “Producing the costumes for the pantomime under tight deadlines has been a huge challenge; not only do they have to look effective but they have to be hard wearing as they need to look just as good on the final day of the pantomime as on the first day. The cast were lovely to work with and their comments were amazing; I felt so proud to see my costumes on stage during the pantomime. Working on this project has given me an insight into working in the industry”.
Written and directed by Richard Tunley; the storyline of poor Jack, together with magical special effects, spectacular scenery and giant-sized comedy will undoubtedly prove a big hit with all the family.
Welsh favourite Frank Vickery who plays Dame Trott said “This is the fourth year we’ve worked with the students and this year’s costumes are exceptional. The range of costumes are all made to measure, this makes such a difference as we need to be comfortable when acting. The quality of their work is very professional and the attention to detail is second to none – well done”