While at his graduation for Mechanical Engineering, Anthony Sahota received a surprise visit from Gary Barlow who invited him to audition for BBC’s Let It Shine, where he made it to the live Quarter-Finals, and he has recently released his new single Maria on streaming and download platforms. Anthony will be playing the lead role of Peter Pan in Horsham’s 2019 pantomime which runs at The Capitol Theatre from 13th December until 5th January. We met up with Anthony at the press launch to talk about his Let It Shine experience, releasing his single Maria and playing the role of Peter Pan.
What are you looking forward to for playing Peter Pan?
The main thing is the excitement. Everyone knows Christmas is a time for excitement and joy, and Peter Pan is the best magical experience that you can give to the children, and even the adults. I honestly can’t wait to have this energy with all of our cast members on stage giving back to the kids at the most fun time of the year.
Is there a most fun part about starring in a pantomime?
Absolutely – everything in panto is super, super high energy, and when you look into the crowd and you see everyone smiling, you get more energy, and it’s like a cycle of positivity and happiness. Most importantly with Peter Pan, the flying is the most fun part!
How do you find interacting with pantomime audiences?
The best! You can’t beat panto interaction because people aren’t shy of making noise. When you go to a normal show, everyone keeps to themselves, but with panto, you can be a bit louder and a bit more extravagant, and people normally have swords. There are critical moments in Peter Pan, so we make sure the audience are part of the show. It’s a magical experience.
When do you start rehearsals, and do you find performing as Peter Pan gets easier each time?
Peter Pan definitely does get easier every time. It’s always a different script and the character can develop and move around, and the flying is really not easy, it’s really painful because it squeezes your hips, so there are a lot of things to battle. The rehearsal period is only ten days and we start in December, so it’s very mentally and physically demanding. It is really rewarding after the ten days though, when you do the show and see the positive energy and you are able to feed off the audience reaction, also when you try and say hello to all the kids after the show.
Can you tell us about your new single Maria?
I went to Canada for six months, and while I was over there, I was working with a few producers, and I released a brand-new single which is available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music… every single platform. It was really exciting because I did a whole release day in Canada! It’s now being listened to in every major country, so I’m really happy.
What are your upcoming music plans?
I’m going to be releasing a song very soon called Touch Down, and it’s going to be a collaboration with another artist. I’m then going to be releasing another song in, probably, early January. My aim is to be releasing music in-between acting and other business stuff, because I have a passion for performing and writing. I’m planning a couple of releases but the next big release is called Touch Down.
What inspired you to apply for Let It Shine, and how do you think it’s helped with performing to a live audience?
I didn’t actually apply for Let It Shine, they came to me on my graduation! I was completely unaware, we were all taking pictures at the end of the day and Gary Barlow popped out of a secret door and surprised me! He knew I was there and looked at me and said, “Anthony, I’d like to invite you onto the show. I know you’ve been working really hard through university but I feel like you deserve to be on stage, and I want to give you that opportunity”. Obviously, I said yes, and the rest is history! It was an amazing experience, I met some amazing people, I worked alongside Gary Barlow, Take That, Dannii Minogue and Martin Kemp from Spandau Ballet. The amount of support I got on the show was amazing. The exposure was amazing as well, and that led onto many other things.
What do you think audiences will love about this year’s pantomime?
Definitely the high energy. The Capitol Theatre is a beautiful place to come any time of the year, and Christmas is going to be something else. There’s something magical about Peter Pan. It’s a very difficult show to put on, but when it’s pulled off, it’s very magical. When I was a kid, Peter Pan was one of my favourites out of everything, and to be playing Peter Pan is a real pleasure. I’m really looking forward to it, it’s going to be a really good Christmas and a really good show.
PETER PAN starts 13th December and runs until 5th January at The Capitol Theatre, Horsham.
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