Q & A: Toyah Willcox
From Punk to Panto

It’s that time of year already! Pantomime returns to The Marlowe Theatre this winter with a new production of Sleeping Beauty. Alongside former Pop Idol Gareth Gates, pop stalwart Toyah Willcox stars as the Wicked Fairy. Toyah has had a long-running musical career; her first album was released back in 1979 and she still tours with her band today. Having performed in numerous theatre, television and film productions she is also a panto veteran. Toyah tells Emma Featherstone why she is looking forward to hitting the Canterbury stage.

You’ve worked in panto since 1993. What makes you return to it?

I’ve learnt to love pantomime as a form of theatre, which is more successful than any other. In the last 20 years it has been completely reinvented, mainly by one man, Kevin Wood  (one of Britain’s top pantomime producers). His daughter Emily produces Sleeping Beauty.

Do you enjoy playing the baddie?

Pantomime is about audience participation and the baddie is the one they retaliate against. Even if you’re really nice to the audience, they’re going to boo you!

What do you think of Canterbury?

I really love it; I have an apartment there. I do all my Christmas shopping in Canterbury and I like the buzzy high street. You can walk down it and hear Dutch, French, and Belgian. My husband (the guitarist Robert Fripp) and I are into the history of the church. So, for me, Canterbury is a leading city in Great Britain.

Does performing in pantomime get you into the Christmas spirit?

It does, especially when you’re in a town that still celebrates the true meaning of Christmas. You always hear carols being sung in Canterbury.

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