Returning to Neverland for my fourth year playing Tinkerbell feels like coming home. I’m gifted my fairy wings once more and reunited with my best friends, Sam (who plays Wendy) and several cans of glitter body spray.
In my dressing room awaits my costume, a satin green leotard with sparkly green tutu, accompanied by my sequin green high tops (luckily green happens to be my colour!).
With the combination of the magical costumes, lights and scenery, that fairy feeling comes over me in no time and I’m almost ready to sprinkle my fairy dust … there’s just one thing missing – my harness!
Every fairy needs to fly at some point during a show and to make it look effortless, isn’t always effortless.
Working for Evolution Pantomimes we are trained to fly by Freedom Flying who are absolutely brilliant.
There are different types of harness for flying on stage and some allow more movement than others. Leaning forward and gracefully moving your arms and legs make the flying motion look believable. Also, having a good relationship with whoever is actually controlling your wires backstage is important – That person determines your flight path and the speed you fly at – so you really want to stay in their good books!!
Once you master the flying, playing a fairy is so much fun, especially one as sassy as Tinkerbell. The audience sometimes forget shes a fairy with a serious attitude and it can be challenging to find the balance between being mean but also likeable.
In order to get the audience on Tinks side I play up her feistiness with a cheeky smile – and a hint of sarcasm. Of course, not all fairies are as tough spirited as Tink, but they are all are magical so the more fun and whimsy you bring to your fairy character to more enchanting your story becomes.
It’s not all fun and games though in Peter Pan. Tinkerbells death scene is very dramatic and requires the audience to feel enough for her so that they finally cheer to save her life – talk about an emotional roller coaster, especially on a three show day!
Relaying to the audience that everything Tink does is motivated by her love for Peter Pan makes her character vulnerable and relatable – everyone knows that love can make you do crazy things!!
Craziness aside, having to opportunity to play a fairy at the most magical time of the year and bring happiness to so many children is extremely enjoyable and heartwarming.
So to all the fairies out there, wave your wands and make magic this panto season! I promise you in no time we will have all our audiences chanting …
“I do believe in
fairies, I do, I do ….”
Jo is a Welsh actress now based in Los Angeles, known for her work in the TV and Film industry. Jo started her career by landing several roles for CBBC before becoming the stunt double for Tracey Beaker actress Dani Harmer. Specialising in creature work, Jo has continued to appear in various international franchise including the Dr Who series and the Harry Potter movies. Her most recent film credits include: Disney’s Dumbo; Captain Marvel; and Mary Poppins Returns. As well as Universal Pictures The Huntsman; and Snow White and the Huntsman.