Show stays close to home

Local role: David Westbrook as Baron Hardup, in the Lyceum panto
Local role: David Westbrook as Baron Hardup, in the Lyceum panto
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THERE’S one big Christmas bonus for Sheffield actor David Westbrook this year – he won’t have to commute to perform in his panto role.

David, who lives in Hunters Bar, plays Baron Hard-Up in the Lyceum panto Cinderella, a lot closer to home than Harrogate, where he has played the role twice before, or Stafford.

He said: “It’s my first panto in my home city. It’s great just being round at home. When it‘s up and running I’m busy but I’ll still be in touch. When I’m away in places like Harrogate I have to commute. I’d be up there during the week and dashing back at weekends, then driving back. It’s quite tough and it’s hard on the family.”

David admits that most of the Christmas preparations fall to his wife, Lucy, who works full-time for the Open University in Leeds. He said; “I do a bit of shopping. If I’m honest, it’s fair to say my wife used to buy more presents for my daughter Sophie than I did!”

It’s also Lucy’s birthday on Christmas Eve so David usually offers to pick up a selection of cold foods on the way home for her birthday dinner. There is a matinee of Cinderella on the day, as is usual with pantomimes. David said: “She’s very tolerant and supportive, bless her.”

In other years the family have made the most of David’s one full day off by going out for Christmas dinner but this year they are looking forward to a nice walk to see an old friend, Patricia, who lives in Fulwood, for lunch with her.

In the morning the family of three will also enjoy a leisurely breakfast and it’s a highlight of the day for David to spend time just with his loved ones.

Sophie, who is 18 and studying for A-levels and AS levels at Chesterfield College, is also busy at this time of year as she has a part-time job waitressing at Nonna’s Italian restaurant on Ecclesall Road.

Then it’s back to work for David, who appears almost every day until January 6, although he has New Year’s Eve and January 1 off as there are no shows.

David said: “I have to accept I’m doing pantomime and it’s on when people want to come in Christmas and New Year season.”