Back in 1980 Denise Nolan was the first of the Nolan Sisters to take to the stage in Pantomime. Her debut was at the New Theatre in Hull where she starred as Cinderella. A nervous Denise was excited at the prospect of appearing on stage with a twelve piece orchestra, something panto stars of today could only dream about. Newspaper journalists with a raised eyebrow speculated whether Denise would be able to make the transition from pop star to actress. They need not have been concerned as she did just that. Reviews were glowing - more to the point, the applause was directed at Denise as a solo artiste. Throughout the eighties Denise Nolan played the lead role in several shows, including Dick Whittington and Jack and the Beanstalk. But it was her portrayal of Snow White that solidified her demand as the panto favourite for the next decade. Altogether she played the part an astounding ten times. Denise succesfully took the show to a Summer audience where she appeared as the main attraction in Scarborough for a season. Most notably Denise starred as Snow White in an extended run of the show at the Phoenix Theatre in London's West End. As well as the luxury of a twelve piece orchestra, artistes could look forward to pantomimes that lasted a lot longer than they do today. In many cases panto could well run into February! Denise is justly proud of her contribution to pantomime, saying;
"People mock panto, thinking it is just people larking about on stage. But there is an awful lot of hard work that goes into every production. Things that appear to have gone wrong have actually been rehearsed and rehearsed. Panto is physically demanding, I have worked with people doing panto for the first time and near the end of the run they are exhausted. Lots of people have said they don't know how we do it. My Sisters were shocked when they started appearing in them. Despite the hard work they are great fun and you usually end up being great friends with the cast. The only negative that I have found is that you are away from your loved ones for a long time, often even Christmas Day you are apart from them. Some of the younger cast are away from their families and they really miss them. Often they have no way of getting home, and so they spend the hoiidays with each other. The whole cast become like a family. I have always made sure that I go home on Chriistmas Eve, even if that means driving through the night to be home. Then after dinner and presents, driving all the way beck to be on stage for the Boxing Day show. It's like nothing else in Theatre land and I have only good memories of panto."
Click on a poster from a year - the pop up window will have full details of the corresponding year's Pantomime.