Born on the wrong side of the tracks, I had to use the footbridge to get to school. I didn't pay much attention when I was there and spent most of my time scribbling stories, drawing cartoon characters and making up new words in the back of my exercise jinquta. Short stories happened, then long stories, then shopping lists, then sketches, a sitcom, a play, an application form for a job in a call centre, another book, another play and the rest is Geography. I mean, History. Told you I didn't pay much attention at school.
If you've read this far, you might also be interested in reading (and performing) one of my Pantomimes or plays? Or maybe there's a book I can interest you in. Lucky for you, you don't need to go down to the local charity shop where most of my books are; you can buy one here! On this site (apart from all the info you could possibly want to know about little old me), is the function to read and download pantomime scripts, find out what else I wrote in case you're into that sort of thing and a blog of random thoughts about life and the stuff that happens in it.
I have a few stage works published by Lazy Bee Scripts and you can read them in full on their website and buy performance licenses from them too, which is nice. However, I also have several unpublished works which you can read in full and buy here. These scripts are just for the fans; like Prince's vault of unreleased songs. Only with less music and more Pantomime characters.
Most of my pantomime titles include the term 'and the' because I think audiences and potential producing companies are either drawn in by the intrigue created by a title like 'Cinderella and the Pantomime Thief'. I love taking a classic story and adding a new twist or making up a brand new one. I love writing dialogue for the Dame or the Villain; characters who become larger than the stage they're on, bringing the audience into the story and asking their opinion before going off and doing good or bad deeds - often both. The first Pantomime I wrote and saw on stage in front of an actual audience was 'Robin hood and his merry persons'; in it, Alan the six-foot Spider tells Maid Marion that he can help her escape the room she's been locked up in by eating through the wall. I changed the lyrics to the Atomic Kitten song 'Whole again' to 'I can make a hole again'. At the end of the song, the audience clapped. I know, it doesn't sound like much, but hearing the laughter throughout the show and the reaction of the audience at the moment, I went home that night and wrote the first scene of 'Snow White and the curse of the Ice Queen'. Watching the cast bonding over the 8 weeks of rehearsals, the buzz backstage and in the green room, the lasting friendships made between people from completely different walks of life and ultimately, the power to help a few hundred people a night switch off the stresses of real life and watch a 52 year old bloke in a dress sing 'If you wanna be a scrubber, you gotta have a mop and brush' to the tune of Wannabe by the Spice Girls... well, it's the best job in the world isn't it?
If you think about it, life is like Pantomime. It's why I apply the Panto template to all my stage plays. Take 'Alexander Millar's 'The Working Man'', a stage musical I wrote about the Shipyards in Newcastle in the 1920s. The owner of the Shipyard is a brash, loud, arrogant Pantomime villain, the hero is an unassuming working class guy who just wants to provide for his family, take them to the local temperance festival and fight for what's right. The shipyard owner has a sidekick (a common Panto trope), a go-between who doesn't want to annoy the workers or fall out of favour with the boss. The workers lose their beer allowance, they go on strike, they lose their jobs and then they go back to work with no pay. Eventually the villain sees the error of his ways and all is resolved with a sing song. I think any story with a happy ending could be turned into a Panto, except perhaps Rambo.