HER usual day job is as a breakfast show presenter, but Joanna Tidman also recently took on the role of a pantomime fairy.
The BBC Coventry and Warwickshire presenter joined The Attic Theatre pantomime Beauty and the Beast to take on the starring role of cheery and cheeky Fairy Bowbells. Working alongside award-winning funnyman, Marc Alden Taylor, former BRMB presenter, Andrew Woolley, and Stratford’s funniest dame, John-Robert Partridge, at the Tread the Boards production.
The production runs until 8th January.
Jo has been working for the BBC for 15 years — and loves her job. “I’m up at 4am on weekdays, and then my job is to wake everybody else up,” she says speaking to Herald arts ahead of the show’s opening last month (December).
It’s not just Jo who has had the panto call-up, her breakfast show co-host, Trish Adudu, is starring in another Tread the Boards festive offering, A Christmas Carol at The Albany Theatre in Coventry, where she plays the Ghost of Christmas Present. Jo told us that Tread the Boards approached the both of them with the idea of appearing in separate pantos and they each leaped at the chance. “It’s been lovely to do it together, to go through the same things; there’s lots of mutual support and comparing of notes. The only problem is trying to see each other’s shows… Oh, and Trish is jealous that I get to sing!”
Growing up in Stratford, Jo did a bit of am-dram, mainly at school, but also sang in a few musicals as a teenager, as well as being in a couple of bands. She says she went on to study social sciences and fell into journalism after graduating from Loughborough University.
Although she didn’t pursue an acting or singing career, she clearly relishes being on the stage — whether that’s on radio or in Beauty and the Beast. “There’s definitely an element of performance in my job, you have to wake up bright and cheery.”
Talking to naturally bubbly Jo you suspect unlike most of us she doesn’t have to try too hard in the mornings. But what is she most enjoying about her role as Fairy Bowbells?
“I’m definitely looking forward to getting dressed up; it’s not often you get the chance to really go for it — false nails and eyelashes, the works. “It’s really scary, but I’m looking forward to singing, which I really enjoy. You have to face your fears,” she adds with a laugh.
Any big numbers we’ll know? “I’m singing Magic To Do, a song from Pippin the musical, which is absolutely spectacular, a real belter that has that wow factor. Also when Belle and the Beast fall in love I sing the Disney classic Tale As Old As Time.”
Is there anything that she is finding a bit challenging?
“The dancing. I am not the most naturally gifted! I think it’s just my old brain taking a bit longer to get it but I’ll get there eventually. It’s difficult learning the lines and working full-time too,” says Jo who is mum to eight-year-old, Ben.
However, she says they’ve had their first run through and she remembered all her lines. “The cast are lovely and so good at what they do, it’s going to be a really good show!”
Finally as you are a fairy for the festive season and can grant wishes, what wish would you make come true for yourself?
“I’m very appreciative of what I’ve got… although the odd lie-in would be nice!”
WHEN AND WHERE: Beauty and the Beast runs until 8th January. Visit www.theattictheatre.co.uk to book tickets or call the box office on 07952 819557.