HMT panto dame Alan McHugh celebrates milestone 1000th performance
Pantomime star Alan McHugh was the star of the show on Wednesday when he celebrated his 1,000th performance as the His Majesty’s Theatre panto dame. Now in his 19th year of appearing in the show, the popular panto star was given a surprise presentation on stage at the close of the evening performance of The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan in front of a packed house.
Having started performing at the city centre theatre in Snow White in 2004, the landmark performance came on Wednesday 21 December, and with over 60 performances each year, the achievement is one he is proud of.
Alan McHugh said “When I discovered I’d done 1,000 performance as Dame at His Majesty’s Theatre, I couldn’t believe it! Before I did the arithmetic, I would have estimated about 500. It just shows how quickly the shows and years have flown in. As they say, time flies when you’re enjoying yourself… and I am. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to have been able to perform for the people of Aberdeen for so long… and here’s to the next thousand!”
Mr McHugh’s achievement was marked on stage with a surprise presentation by Aberdeen Performing Arts’ Director of Programming and Creative Projects, Ben Torrie, watched by fellow cast members including Strictly Come Dancing star Brendan Cole, River City celebrity Paul J Corrigan and local favourite Danielle Jam. The panto star, famous for his on-stage ad-libs which can wrong-foot his co-stars, was visibly surprised on stage by the gesture which included gifts of mementos from past shows and the naming of a seat in the famous auditorium in his honour.
During the presentation, Ben said “It is an incredible achievement to have reached 1000 performances and we all hope to see many, many more from Alan. He brings a top-notch show year on year, delivers incredible performances day after day, but brings so much more to the show. He leads the company off stage in the same way he does on stage – with incredible warmth, a great sense of fun and mischief, hilarious humour, and leaves everyone with a genuine sense of not knowing what will happen next! He makes every single person involved feel valued and everyone here loves him to bits.”
While performing each year at the His Majesty’s Theatre pantomime, Alan writes the scripts for more than 20 other venues and is a key figure in panto across the UK.
The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan runs to Sunday 8 January and tickets are on sale now at His Majesty’s Theatre or Music Hall by phone at 01224 641122 or visit aberdeenperformingarts.com.