Word on the panto grapevine is that rehearsals for York Theatre Royal’s Cinderella are officially underway… Playing Prince Charming this festive season is Benjamin Lafayette, who, since leaving Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, has appeared in the short film “Raheem” (The Second Summer of Love) and played the title role in Shakespeare’s “Othello” for Mill Productions in Dublin. Here, Benjamin talks swapping Shakespeare for silliness, keeping up with panto season and of course, dream roles…
So you’re taking on Prince Charming in York Theatre Royal’s Panto this year – how are rehearsals going?
Very well! It’s all moving so quickly and the show is taking a really good shape.
Have you dabbled in Panto before this?
No, this is my very first time in a panto! It’s already proving to be quite different to what I am used to, but it’s been amazing so far and I love new challenges.
And do you have any fond memories of specific pantos as a child (or an adult!) to throw back to as you prepare for Cinderella opening?
I remember enjoying a show when I was quite young, but I admittedly did want to leave at the interval as I was tired and wanted to go home! Hopefully, the kids seeing our show won’t have the same idea.
Prince Charming is of course a much coveted role! Where are you looking to for inspiration here?
I feel very fortunate to play this character. A lot of my inspiration is coming from Prince Harry, as I want this version to be quite relatable and familiar.
You’ve not long wrapped up playing Othello – how did you find playing such an intense role?
It was a challenge for sure. It had me feeling exhausted after every show, but it was the most incredible time and an absolute dream of a part for me. I still can’t believe I’ve had the chance to play him at this age, as it’s been a huge learning experience for me.
Are you looking forward to getting your teeth into some silliness on stage now?
Absolutely! Any excuse to be silly on stage is reason enough for me.
What would be your dream role pick and why?
On stage, my dream would be to play John Laurens in Hamilton, as I love the energy and charm that character has. I also think the music in the show is fantastic. To say that I was once in the cast of Hamilton, would make me so happy! So I think that would be my dream role for stage.
For Film/TV I’m a massive super hero fan, and I would love the chance to play Miles Morales (The Black Spider-Man) again the energy and youthfulness that character has would be so fun to conjure up.
Panto is notoriously challenging for actors – what are your go-to strategies for getting through a gruelling show schedule?
Rest and eat well! Also, have as much fun with the show as possible.
Finally, what are you most looking forward to when the curtain goes up on this production of Cinderella?
Bringing this fun and exciting show to life and seeing people of all different ages enjoying the show and singing along with us.
So there you have it! You can catch Benjamin Lafayette’s Prince Charming in York Theatre Royal’s Cinderella from December 3rd 2021 to January 2nd 2022, and you can find your tickets here.