“Cinderella Live” Performances Begin This Weekend with Chris Rankin

The clock is about to strike midnight, and that means Cinderella Live performances are going to begin this weekend. In October, we received the news that Chris Rankin, who was the ambitious Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter films, will be the Fairy Godfather in the world’s first interactive online pantomime experience.

The first performance will be broadcast live on December 18, and there will be various performances until December 24. Tickets on the United States and Canada site begin at $24.97 for a standard ticket and offers group rates and gift packs.

This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Panto Live, the United Kingdom-based production company behind Cinderella Live, will be substituting traditional theater stage scenery with 3D worlds in real time created by Unreal Engine. This technology has taken film by storm and has proven its capabilities within Hollywood productions. This is the visual effects company that aided in 3D environments for The Mandalorian, so we’re setting our expectations high. Cinderella Live producer Ben McNeill had the vision to make this an immersive and spectacular experience.

From the very beginning, we set out to produce a pantomime that will make use of the best technology available. We have seen plenty of live events with static and lifeless backgrounds, making the watching experience less immersive and enjoyable – they are becoming a thing of the past. Cinderella Live will use animated and vibrant settings, re[-]creating the interactivity of traditional pantomimes whilst, of course, keeping safe this Christmas season.

Using real-time sets is only one of the unique features Panto Live will be utilizing for this. Production will also allow the audiences at home to influence the performance by interacting with the characters through virtual buttons on the screen. Select audience members will be able to participate in the live performance through their webcam!. Director Charlotte Peters is excited about the use of this interactive technology.

Being the first theatrical venture to use Unreal Engine has been so exciting. This, coupled with the ability for our viewers to interact with the production by clicking and tapping reactions, which we in the studio can hear and respond to, feels like we are further pushing the technological boundaries to return the joy to 2020.

We all know that this is a sad time currently for many actors and other key people in the creative workforce industry, so Cinderella Live is working to create new means to give back and support theater and the television industry. This production is partnering with the Film and TV Charity and the Actors’ Children’s Trust to support UK-based creatives affected by the pandemic.

It looks like we’re about to be visited by the lovely Fairy Godfather himself! Check out Chris Rankin’s invitation to all to enjoy this amazing experience.

 

 

If you’re unable to make any of the live performances, don’t pull out your Time-Turner just yet – you’ll be able to watch on-demand beginning in January 2021. This is such an exciting opportunity and a cozy way to spend Christmas Eve. Will you be getting your ticket for these once-in-a-lifetime performances? Let us know!

Press Release

Harry Potter, Hollyoaks and Coronation Street [S]tars to [P]erform in the World's First Live, Virtual & Interactive Pantomime

LONDON, UK / WORLDWIDE — Panto Live, the company behind the groundbreaking production Cinderella Live, has announced its full cast list. The show is the world’s first live-streamed, fully interactive pantomime and will premiere this holiday season around the world on December 18th-24th. The cast includes Harry Potter star Chris Rankin, TV talent Jessica Ellis (Hollyoaks) and Kimberly Hart-Simpson (Coronation Street), pantomime veteran Steve Fortune and renowned Irish busker and You[T]ube sensation Cuan Durkin.

Panto Live, the UK-based production company behind this Cinderella [p]antomime, will be substituting traditional theatre stage scenery with 3D worlds in real-time [sic] created with Unreal Engine. This technology has proven its capabilities within Hollywood productions. The visual effects company behind Star Wars, Industrial Light & Magic, used Unreal Engine to build entire 3D environments for The Mandalorian, displaying them on giant LED screens surrounding the set. Not only did this mean practically everything could be captured in frame, [but] it also provided actors with some context to help their performances.

"From the very beginning, we set out to produce a pantomime that will make use of the best technology available," says [p]roducer Ben McNeill. "We have seen plenty of live events with static and lifeless backgrounds, making the watching experience less immersive and enjoyable - they are becoming a thing of the past. Cinderella Live will use animated and vibrant settings, re[-]creating the interactivity of traditional pantomimes, whilst, of course, keeping safe this Christmas season."

The implementation of real-time virtual sets is just one of the unique features Panto Live is utilizing for this theatrical take on the classic Cinderella story. The Cinderella Live production will also allow audiences at home to influence the performance by interacting with the characters through virtual buttons on their screens. "Being the first theatrical venture to use Unreal Engine has been so exciting," says [d]irector Charlotte Peters. "This, coupled with the ability for our viewers to interact with the production by clicking and tapping reactions, which we in the studio can hear and respond to, feels like we are further pushing the technological boundaries to return the joy to 2020." A select few audience members will also be able to participate in the live performance through their webcam.

Producer Lianne Collinson said, "Cinderella Live is much more than creating an interesting pantomime story and placing a few cameras in front of actors. We are not just trying to tick a box; we are truly merging television, theatre and gaming technologies to bring the best possible experience to both the actors and our audiences."

The cast also includes Katy Clayton (The Band, Shameless) in the role of Cinderella, Tim Churchill (Blood Brothers) as one of the [u]gly [steps]isters, Martin Callaghan (Portugal’s Got Talent) as Baron Hardup and Chris Johnson (CBBC) as Buttons.

Despite the difficulties theatres have been facing during the pandemic, Cinderella Live is an ambitious production like no other and is the first of its kind, with actors performing in real-time [sic] and with their actions dictated by the audience’s reactions. As an audience member, you will be able to sing along, cheer and even shout ‘Behind you!’ at a character by pressing fun and innovative colourful buttons on the screen of your devices.

At a time when many actors and creative industries' workforce find themselves unemployed, Cinderella Live is creating new means of supporting theatre and the TV industry. The production is also partnering with the Film [and] TV Charity and the Actors’ Children [sic] Trust. Both organizations support UK-based creatives affected by the pandemic.

For more information and tickets: www.pantolive.com & www.pantolive.com/us_canada.

 

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Brittany Bennett

A proud Hufflepuff and nerd beyond measure, Harry Potter has always been the series I call home.

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