MATT Daines who is directing Cinderella at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil would describe himself as being a ‘I wish I could be Christmas every day’ kinda guy.

It is just like the opening lyrics say: “When the snowman brings the snow well he just might like to know, he’s put a great big smile on somebody’s face if you jump into your bed quickly cover up your head don’t you lock the doors you know that sweet Santa Clause Is On The Way.

“I wish it could be Christmas everyday...

The reason he ‘is that guy’ is he loves pantomimes and the only time you can watch a panto is of course at Christmas.

This December and into January 2018, he is directing Cinderella which has been written by Paul Hendy and produced by Evolution, the same team behind Peter Pan, which was a huge success at the theatre last year.

Matt Daines (Director and Ugly Sister) said: “I have done pantomimes for a few years so I have a great deal of experience of them.

"I am acting and directing Cinderella, so the proof of the pudding will be in my performance.

"I do enjoy the nature of having these two jobs and two roles. By doing panto for sometime I do trust my own instinct and as a director I know what needs to be in place.

"There is no extra pressure on me by doing two roles.

“The only pressure will be on my other ugly sister as I have to commit myself to the other actors before I can work with him.

Somerset County Gazette:

“I have worked with my other ugly sister (Ian Smith) before (last year) so we do have a rapport and a bit of chemistry.

"I would hope the people who come and see the panto will enjoy it as if they are kids, even big kids.

“We live in a crazy world and we hope the theatre can give them a break from it for one or two hours.

"We want everyone to enjoy themselves.

"Other productions like straight plays have etiquette which needs to be followed where a pantomime is more relaxed.

“But even though it is relaxed the actors need to keep to the script and perhaps be even more controlled than normal and more responsible.

“You can ad lib or let yourself go, but if you go too far and become self indulgent then it becomes obvious and the audience can start to heckle you.

“As an actor you have to be control and have them (the audience) in the palm of your hands.

"If you do not have control then it will not work.”

Matt who graduated in 2000 as an actor has been in the business for 17 years.

Somerset County Gazette:

The first job he had when he left college was in a play and then his second was a panto.

The panto was at the City Variety Theatre in Leeds and from that moment on, Matt you could say ‘was hooked on pantos’.

He said from that moment ‘he fell in love with them’.

Then for the past six years, he has been working with The Evolution Company and has directed five of the pantos as well as appearing in them.

Matt said: “Doing panto means doing a different art form.

“Everyone thinks doing a panto is easy but it is not.

"If you lose the audience it can be difficult to get them back.

“You have to keep them in that moment.

Somerset County Gazette:

“It is interesting to meet people who have never done panto before in their lives.

“They are in for a surprise, a massive surprise.

“It can be the same with celebrities I have worked with who cannot cope with the pressure.

"You have to give 110 per cent as it is hard.

"There is a skill to doing panto but you have to trust your script. As an actor I would say you need to enjoy the moment.

"You need to let yourself go, push it to extreme but also know your limits.

“What gives me the satisfaction about a panto is when I leave the theatre out of costume and hear people talking about what they have seen and what they have enjoyed but they do not know who I am and do not recognise me.

Somerset County Gazette:

"What is good to see is to see people happy and buzzing after the panto. For those who come to watch, I hope they can enjoy the magic and let out their inner child.

"When I get to January and the panto is over I am knackered.

“I just want to go home but within a month or two I am back in contract negotiations about Christmas.

"I haven’t even put my wig away and I am thinking about panto all over again.

"I am lucky as I have more prep time to get things ready.

“So by the summer I am already thinking about what to do. I am not counting down the days as this would be desperate but when I get a txt from the wardrobe lady I know time is going quickly and it is close to December.

“I am an actor who plays a woman in a panto. I am not a drag queen.

“But I do find once you put on the make-up and costume I feel I can be more flamboyant and over the top.

"The more over the top the better.

Somerset County Gazette:

"I want people to go away from having seen the panto with a spring in their step or humming a tune.

“There are not many happy ever afters in life but you can get one in a panto.

"Doing a great panto is like the cream on top of the cake.

"I hope people come and see our production of Cinderella and enjoy themselves.

“They can relax for two hours and get into the Christmas spirit.”

- Cinderella is at the Octagon until Sunday, January 7, 2018.

Tickets for the show can be bought online at or call the box office on 01935 422884.