Swansea Life: Kev Johns column
Every month, entertainer Kev Johns takes a sideways look at life.
These past two months, my life has centred around the Grand Theatre in Swansea.
Six weeks were spent rehearsing and performing this year's pantomime, Cinderella, and before that, a special production of A Christmas Carol with The Fluellen Theatre Company. All my experiences and encounters involve that lovely beautiful theatre!
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Our leading man this year was singer and reality TV star Chico, a lovely man, brought up in Morocco but born in Wales!
Chico is a real people-person and it was a delight to spend time with him in the rehearsal room, on stage, back stage and introducing him to cawl at Gershwins! Chico is a performer who has time for everyone.
On our annual panto visit to the children's ward at Morriston Hospital, Chico was very popular with both staff and patients, but as the company headed back to the minibus, we lost Chico!
He had bumped into a nurse who has asked if he could quickly pop and see the patients on her ward and he agreed immediately!
Twenty minutes later we all cheered as he finally got back to the bus, and Chico said 'what's twenty minutes to bring a little happiness?'.
My most bizarre memory of panto this year involved an evening when I was the least famous person in my dressing room. Hollywood star Michael Sheen called in after watching the show with his family, and was followed by rugby star Kahn Fotuali'i who had come to watch his first panto with some friends from the Ospreys!
Michael loved the panto but even though he was on a family night out, gave plenty of time to those who wanted pictures and autographs!
Michael made another huge impact during his short trip home including a Christmas Day visit to a local residential care home. What a lovely man.The Grand Theatre Club are real heroes! Theatre club members love the theatre and are so incredibly supportive of the Grand. They raise money to buy equipment for the Grand and, this year, some members volunteered to sell panto progammes.
Every year, a wonderful social evening is held for the panto company called Meet The Cast. It's a lovely evening with a buffet provided by the Theatre Club and a raffle to raise more money for club funds.
These lovely people are a wonderful asset to the Grand, and long may they continue to be so.
Finally, I must pay tribute to the wonderful people who organise trips to the panto.
You know how difficult it is to get a family to the theatre on time, never mind a coachfull or more!
Yet, every year, hundreds come on coaches from all over South and West Wales and someone has to organise it. Thank you to those who do.
Cinderella was the 100th panto ever produced at the Grand, and I would like to pay tribute to a lovely man called Ian Parsons who put together an exhibition celebrating 100 years of Grand panto.