The producers of the year’s Hawth pantomime Sleeping Beauty auditioned over 30 local performers for the title role over the weekend, and, after putting all the hopefuls through their paces, chose Lauren Cocoracchio to star alongside TV star, Stephen Mulhern, impressionist Hilary O’Neil and CBeebies’ Cat Sandion in their smash-hit pantomime, Sleeping Beauty.
Producers Paul Hendy and Emily Wood faced the difficult choice in narrowing the choice down from an original 80 applicants. Paul said, ‘We were very impressed by the standard of talent in the local area but when Lauren walked in, we knew we’d found our Beauty. Lauren has a great voice and is a wonderful actress. We’re aiming to make this production of Sleeping Beauty the best pantomime Crawley has ever seen and I know Lauren will help us achieve that.’
‘We’re passionate about giving young performers a chance to break into the business. And we also love to use local talent wherever we can, so this was a brilliant opportunity for a local girl.’
I caught up with Lauren today to congratulate her on new news.
I hear that you are a local girl?
Yes I was born in Crawley and have attended local theatre companies around the region, from the ages of 10-16 I was a member of ‘Stages Performing Arts School’ in Crawley and have performed at the Hawth several times so it is very familiar. I qualified at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, and have been in several productions including panto and ‘Lost Boy’ in London. Currently I teach dance and singing classes in Horsham and Crawley.
How was the audition process?
It was nerve-racking. Lots of girls applied to be Sleeping Beauty and I was lucky enough to be invited to audition. My audition was at 2.30pm and all the girls were asked to go in together and sing their audition piece in front of each other. Somehow this made it even more scary, however it was a good exercise and it was great to see the others perform. I sang Come to your Senses from a musical called Tick Tick Boom.
I was then asked to read a scene from the script with producer Emily Wood, I sang a second song and then went home to wait for news.
When did you find out?
I found out the following morning the producers telephoned me and offered me the part. I was just about to teach a zumba class. The ladies said that I didn’t stop smiling throughout the class. I was so happy.
Sleeping Beauty: Not one of the usual pantos, tell me about it.
I have played the role before at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle, and there are all the usual panto elements, a Princess, her Prince, a Wicked Queen and her Minions. I meet the rest of the cast on Friday which I am excited about. I love pantomime, everyone becomes very close and has a lot of fun. It will be extra lovely to be performing in Crawley over Christmas close to home where all my friends and family are.
So what’s next for you?
Well who knows? This is such a fantastic opportunity. It will be great to get the exposure and I am really hoping that it’ll lead onto other things. It is a difficult business to break into and you have to take every opportunity open to you. This is a wonderful opportunity and I am very happy.
Sleeping Beauty takes place at The Hawth from Friday 12 December
Tickets are on sale now from The Hawth Box Office on 01293 553636 or from www.hawth.co.uk