INTERVIEW Adam Bailey for Jac and the Beanstalk (New Theatre)

The days are getting shorter and the nights are drawing in and that means one thing: the New Theatre’s annual Christmas pantomime is coming, and this year’s is gonna be alriiiiiiiii. Jac and the Beanstalk is the New’s latest festive shindig to sprinkle a little Welsh magic over the Very British artform that is the panto, and Get the Chance’s Barbara Hughes-Moore sat down with the actor bringing the titular adventurer to life: Adam Bailey, fresh from London’s West End who’s starred in the likes of Jersey Boys and The Book of Mormon.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Thank you for speaking with me today, Adam. Tell us a little bit about Jac and the Beanstalk

What a brilliant panto – I can’t wait to get started. I grew up in Cardiff and it’s going to be a really special thing to be able to come back to the New Theatre.

Could you share some of your memories of the New Theatre?

I’ve been doing shows here since I was a teenager! I did 4 or 5 amateur productions here, so it’s lovely to come back as a professional: it’s a real full circle moment!

And to be playing the titular character, too! Tell me about Jac: what makes him tick?

Well, I’m not sure because we don’t have a script yet! We start rehearsals end of November and that’s when we’ll start to explore all of that. It’s going to be such a fun light show. Panto is a total romp, so I can’t wait!

How did you get involved?

Just like any actor you audition, you sing and you act, and then you get the call.

There are some quite big names on the poster behind you, like Lesley Joseph and Mike Doyle. Have you met either of them yet?

I don’t think I have… although I’m terrible with names and faces!

Well, Mike is a master of disguise, so you could have met him and not known it!


What are your first memories of panto?

Although it wasn’t a family tradition, I’ve been to panto at the New Theatre as a child. My first proper memories were the first times I did panto when I was in training, during my econd and third year. it’s so much fun, and so important to the fibre of theatre in this country. It’s so many people’s first foray into theatre, so it’s a really wonderful thing.

You’ve performed both in pantomimes like Aladdin, and musical theatre like Jersey Boys in the West End. What are the differences between the two – or is it the same process?

It’s all theatre at the end of the day. It’s essentially your office job! But all the shows you do are slightly different and it’s the people who make it. There is something special about panto and how stylised it is, because there’s nothing else like it. It’s such a British staple and such a unique tradition.

What’s the secret to a good pantomime?

Good people. As long as you’ve got good people, then it’s gonna be brilliant and I’m excited to meet the cast.

Will it get Cardiff audiences on their feet?

Yes! Panto is a party at the end of the day and we want to get everyone up on their feet and feel good. We want to send everyone on their way singing.

How does the show incorporate Welsh references into Jac and the Beanstalk?

The clue is right here in the title: we’ve taken the ‘k’ out of ‘Jack’ for a start!

Will there be room to improv?

With certain characters, yes. Mike Doyle for example has done this over and over and there will be improv… but within reason! This isn’t a seven-hour-long panto: we’ve got to do two a day!

What about the costumes?

They’re nice and bright and colourful! What other shows let you get away with wearing things like this?

Do we have any special effects to look forward to?

I hear there’s a special effect with the giant, but it isn’t common knowledge so I can’t give anything away. You’ll just have to wait and see…

Anything else you can tease about the show?

The pantos here are always brilliant. So come along, enjoy yourself, sing along, have a dance: it’s gonna be great.

Jac and the Beanstalk is performing at the New Theatre Cardiff from 9 December 2023 – 7 January 2024. More information and how to book tickets here.

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