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Lowestoft Players prepare for panto

PUBLISHED: 10:03 05 December 2008 | UPDATED: 09:31 11 May 2010

Stephen Clarke as the prince/beast. Picture: SUBMITTED

Stephen Clarke as the prince/beast. Picture: SUBMITTED

PREPARATIONS are getting under way to transform leading man Stephen Clarke into a hideous beast for The Lowestoft Players pantomime of Beauty and The Beast.

PREPARATIONS are getting under way to transform leading man Stephen Clarke into a hideous beast for The Lowestoft Players pantomime of Beauty and The Beast.

The costume, which will nearly double Stephen's body in size, as well a three part latex mask and makeup, will see 24-year-old Stephen turn into a 6.5ft tall growling and grizzly beast. Approximately two hours will be needed before every performance to change Stephen's youthful looks into one of pantomimes most iconic characters.

As well as an extensive physical transformation, the part also demands a vocal one too to match the mean and moody exterior of the Beast.

Stephen joined the Players in 2003 straight from school and has appeared in most musicals and pantomimes ever since. He has a real passion for pantomime having previously played the title role of Aladdin back in 2004.

He said: “This is definitely my most challenging role to date. I not only get to play the part of a prince trapped in the body of a beast for 90pc of the show, but I also have to transform my voice and sing too.”

Stephen is used to big challenges however, having just received his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award from Prince Edward at St James Palace on Thursday, November 6. In order to qualify for the prestigious award, Stephen had to complete 50 miles of trekking, spend two weeks with the National Youth Theatre, 12 months working with the police on their crime prevention panel and also learn to drive.

“But it was worth it. It's not every day a make believe prince gets to meet a real one.”

Rehearsals for the pantomime, which will feature a gunge-tank, the black theatre of fantasy and an X-Factor spin-off show are well under way.

Beauty and the Beast will be showing at The Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, from Saturday, January 24 to Sunday, February 1, for nine performances with matinees on both Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are available from the theatre box office on 01502 533200.

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