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Pepa Duarte - Cinderella The Theatre Chipping Norton Interview

Head along to The Theatre Chipping Norton the national home of traditional family panto for the classic tale as you’ve never, ever seen it before.

In the small town of Santa Maria de las Orejas de Soplillo (St Maria with the sticky out ears) lives a beautiful, kind and very frustrated young woman. Cinderella dreams of a new life, away from her dreary chores and her awful stepmother. But what’s the use of dreaming?

With Latin American music and dance, a riot of colour and non-stop, laugh out loud silliness from beginning to end – come and join the carnival!

Ahead of the show opening on Wednesday 15th November we caught up with cast member Pepa Duarte who plays Madre Monte and Elsa in the production.

What can you tell me about your roles within this production of Cinderella?
I’m playing two very different characters in this production. Elsa Lame del Diablo is the villain of the Panto, I’d say she is actually just trying to make a living! Of course despite everyone else and the forest included, but she is a powerful diva. She deserves EVERYTHING. Then I’m playing Madre Monte, she is a magical character deeply connected with the jungle. She’s Cinderella godmother and she wishes the best for her. You’ll see loads of magic coming from her! 

What attracted you to this production?
The creatives working on it!! I was so excited to be part of project full of outstanding artists and such a pleasure to be surrounded by other Latinx creatives.

This version infuses Latin American music and dance, how exciting a prospect is that for you to perform?
 Oh that is incredibly exciting! Latin American music is rich and powerful and the composers have done an awesome job with the music in the show. We are all enjoying the choreography and I can guarantee the audience will end up wanting to dance as well.

The cast in rehearsals 

What memories do you have of seeing shows as a child and what impact did they have on you?
I remember seeing a show by a very well known theatre company in Peru where actor musicians took the audience into a journey through music and tradition, they all wore half masks and represented humanised animals. I’ve always loved shows with music, and even more when the audience was involved and a huge part of what was happening. Looking back to it, I can’t believe I’m part of something so grandiose myself.

What keeps you inspired as a creative?
I love being part of projects that inspire and challenge me. Trying something new. Collaborating with different people and learning about other people’s practices. 

What do you hope an audience takes away from seeing Cinderella?
I hope they get to experience a tiny bit of the magic of Latin America. The story encourages people to remember being themselves is enough and actually quite special. This is a show made with Latinxs so I hope it goes beyond the stereotype and makes people see what we have to offer. In a time where immigrants from any generation are constantly threatened, I hope this message comes across even louder and specially coming from a cast with majority migrant background. 

Cinderella plays at The Theatre Chipping Norton from Wednesday 17th November until Sunday 14th January 2024. Tickets are available

The cast in rehearsals 

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