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Next week, we will announce the winner of the ‘Design a Belle Dress Competition’ for our festive pantomime of Beauty and the Beast. The judges have been busy working through your fantastic work of art – with nearly 80 designs received in total! We caught up with Senior Manager Youth and Community, to see how it’s all going ….

So, how did the competition go?

We had a fantastic response from schools and young people across Pembrokeshire and beyond. It was amazing to arrive at work and open envelope after envelope filled with spectacular creations!

What are the designs like?

We were overwhelmed by the creative and imaginative designs that were submitted. We could have put Belle in a different dress every night – unfortunately we could only pick one!

Who took part in the competition?

We had 76 entries from young people aged four to 18, with a range of artistic styles and a huge variety of fashion choices. We’ve got some future Ralph Lauren’s and Coco Chanel’s in our midst!

Where can people see the designs?

All the designs will be on display in our gallery during the festive period – and the winning gown can be seen on Belle during every performance of Beauty and The Beast from 15th until 31st December.

How did you choose the winner and why?

Choosing the winner was tough and took a long time. Chelsey and Kevin (the director and designer of the pantomime) went through all the amazing entries and picked ones they really liked the look of… and there were a lot of them. In the end they chose one which they felt best reflected our version of Belle, and what she will be like.

What are the next steps?

Kevin and his amazing team of dress makers will take the design into their workshop and begin the task of transforming the ideas on the page into a spectacular pantomime reality. They will be cutting and dying fabric, working out ways to hand make some of the more elaborate sections of the dress, and then making sure it fits our Belle perfectly. Finally, they will accessorise it and make it Princess ready!

I hear that there’s an exhibition, say more.

From 4th to 31st of December we will be doing a takeover in the Torch’s gallery where all competition entries will be displayed – and while the competition is over, if you want to offer any more designs for Belle then you are welcome to submit them and we’ll display them alongside all the other fabulous work.

So work is underway to create the dress! We are so excited! Can you say something about it?

Our fabulous costume makers are busily getting all the bright and colourful materials together, measuring the actress playing Belle (to make sure the dress fits her perfectly), and then they’ll begin the painstaking process of cutting, sewing, and folding in the panto magic… but I can’t give away all the secrets!


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