WITH around 70 different costumes, a festive, colourful set, and an “epic” ensemble, preparations for the Christmas pantomime at Salisbury Playhouse are well underway.

Robin Hood will begin its run at the end of November, taking audiences on an adventure with comedy, music and dance, alongside various sets and costumes, all designed and created inside the theatre.

Behind the performers, a team is dedicated to bring the visual elements of the story to life, including set and costume designer James Button, choreographer Nicky Griffiths and director Gareth Machin.

Set and design ideas and concepts begin around a year in advance for the panto, before creation and work begins around May time, to make the plans on paper a reality.

This year’s set has been inspired by the traditional tale of Robin Hood, while a red and green focus pays homage to the colours of Christmas.

Designer James Button said: “We wanted to create two very clear worlds for the characters to inhabit in Robin Hood - Nottingham castle, the Sheriff’s domain, and Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood’s domain.

“Nottingham castle was inspired by the bling, over-the-top nature of Las Vegas in strong contrast to the natural world of the forest. “The design’s framing device will hopefully show Nottingham castle engulfing the forest as the Sheriff tries to take power., knocking down anything in his way.”

Lucy Rouse of Wiltshire Creative said: “[Salisbury panto] is one of the most successful regional pantomimes in the country, but what makes it even more special is that it is all made here.

“We’re really proud we’re one of the few theatres in the county producing our own traditional, family, locally relevant pantomime, and we play to capacity audiences for six weeks.”

In the lead up to opening night, the cast are now in rehearsals as part of a four-week process.

Choreographer Nicky, whose routines for Robin Hood are partly inspired by filmic on-screen fighting, said: “We have an incredible company of nine performers who each bring so much to the table.

“You want to make sure you’re creating work that suits them and their take on the character.”

Lucy added: “The rehearsal process can be pretty intense, but the cast are so talented and work incredibly hard, especially when they start rehearsing in the Main House.

“People are looking for a fun night out and a shared experience with the family, which is why panto is more important than ever.

“With the effects and props in store, and the big group number at the end of the first act, the cast has described this panto as epic.”

Robin Hood will be at Salisbury Playhouse from November 30 until January 12.

For more information and tickets visit wiltshirecreative.co.uk