A technical guru at a mobile phone store has landed a more low-tech role in charge of a traditional Christmas panto …. oh yes, he has!
Sam Lynch, who works at the O2 store at Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre in Wrexham, has spent years treading the boards with the Wrexham and District Pantomime Company appearing in parts ranging from an ugly sister to the big scary giant in Beauty and the Beast.
And for the group’s next glittering production of Aladdin at Glyndwr University’s William Aston Hall early next year in aid of Nightingale House Hospice 22-year-old Sam is stepping up into the important job of co-director.
Apart from masterminding the stage movements of 15 cast members plus around 20 young dancers he’s also agreed to take on the responsibility of being official singing coach.
Although that sounds a daunting prospect, Sam says he’s looking forward to the challenge as it will help him put to the test the skills he learned while studying for a musical theatre degree at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.
Sam, who lives in the Rhosddu area of Wrexham, started with O2 last November and was initially a sales assistant at the branch in the town’s Hope Street.
Using his technical know-how he became an in-store guru soon afterwards and has been based at the Eagles Meadow store since June.
He said: “In my day-job I help customers fix technical problems they might have with their devices and also do a lot of training with the staff, showing them how various new features work.
“It’s kind of the same thing with my new role as co-director with the panto company because I’ll be guiding and members of the cast and the dancers while they’re on stage and helping them to overcome problems.
“I’ve been with the panto group since I was in my teens and have appeared in a number of productions. In Robinson Crusoe and an earlier version of Aladdin I was part of the comedy duo and was one of the ugly step-sisters in Cinderella.
“Last year I took one of the lead roles and was the beast in Beauty and the Beast. For that I had to wear long furry gloves going right up my arms and a big hairy head-piece. That was very warm with all the stage lights on me but it was also a lot of fun.
“I kept in touch with the company even during the three years I was away at university in Preston and always helped in some way with their productions.
“This will be the first time I’ve been in charge and I’ll be working closely alongside the director, Stuart Bold.”
Sam added: “It helps that I did a music theatre degree at university and I’ve had a bit of previous experience directing a 30-minute piece involving junior students as part of my course work.
“For Aladdin I’ll also be the singing coach, which means helping to choose the right songs for the show and advising people on how to sing them.
“You always have to choose a good, well-known number to finish on that the audience can join in with. I’m thinking at this stage it could be something by the Jackson Five but you never know.
“We start choosing the cast in August and rehearsals will then begin ready for the curtain to go up next February. We’ll be on from Saturday until the following Friday. Proceeds from the show will be going to Nightingale House Hospice.
“The idea with the Wrexham company is to showcase young local performers but we also have quite a few people who are in the shows every year. For one of them this will be their 40th production.
“I just love panto because it’s good traditional fun and you always get lots of feedback from the audience. It’s also great to see the smiles you put on the kids’ faces.”
Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley: “It never ceases to amaze me that we have so many hugely talented people working here and Sam is obviously a man of many parts!”