Mandy Besson shares news of Cité Scolaire Internationale’s annual pantomime production, this year to be Cinderella.
The Europole CSI Panto has become a bit of a benchmark for popular musical theatre in English in Grenoble. Who’d have thought it?
For this long-standing, and quite unique British tradition to have found its place in a foreign land? It’s a bit panto really.
The annual panto at the C.S.I. (Cité Scolaire Internationale) started eight years ago, when a group of loopy parents got together and stirred (annoyed) the school staff enough to put the wheels in motion to recreate the shows that had already been part of the English section some years previously, when it still resided at the Lycée Stendhal.
A couple of years later, in the spanking new premises at Europole, the panto was up and running. Snow White, check, Cinderella, check, Aladdin … the list goes on (and comes around again…) Before we knew it, the show was a must-see, and the public just couldn’t get enough.
A dedicated team of pupil, teacher and parent helpers started working on scenery, props and costumes. Thinking ahead. Hoping that the panto might even become, shhh, don’t say it out loud…. A regular event! Dozens of metres of backcloths were painted, used, then carefully stowed away. Huge piles of costumes thought up, created, and then, after their moment in the spotlight, laundered, folded, labelled and put away to sleep. The foundations of future pantos were quietly but surely being created, used, then squirreled away.
On the eve of Cinderella, our eighth panto, the excitement of the cast is palpable at every rehearsal. Many of these kids come into the first rehearsals blissfully ignorant of the roots of the show, whether those roots be firmly entrenched in British panto, or just tentatively starting to forge their way, here in Grenoble.
Their awkward first steps lead to confident strides aplenty, and our gang of auditionees are now a family. For the volunteer adults involved in the show, this coming together of the cast is a joy to experience. The changing dynamic of a group of 12 to 15 year olds can be a scary place, but with panto as the driving force, they all come out singing.
This year’s show is only a couple of weeks away. Cinderella is busy sweeping up, the ugly Sisters are busy primping and preening, Buttons is trying hard to keep on top of things, the Prince is still searching for his Princess, and the Fairy Godmother has her hands well full!
With the usual dose of humour, dance and song, Cinderella is bound to delight the local audience.
The whole team join me in inviting you to join in the fun and come along. You know you want to!
The shows take place at the Cité Scolaire Internationale, 4, place de Sfax, tram terminus Cité Internationale.
Wednesday 30th Jan at 2.30pm
Friday 1st February at 7.30pm
Saturday 2nd February at 10am and 7.30pm.
Tickets are available from Cinderella2013@orange.fr Adults 6€, Students 3€, under 4’s free.
Stop Press: Both Saturday performances are sold out.