IT’S true to say that Sid Sloane is most readily recognised by the very young who are fans of CBeebies along with their parents and carers but as the last remaining member of the original team he has been entertaining a few generations of them down the years.
But the man starring in the Lyceum pantomime, Sleeping Beauty – as Sid the Storyteller (no stretch there) – has many more strings to his bow. In addition to being a TV presenter, he’s an actor, writer and voiceover artist on radio.
He is also a writer of poetry for children and adults which he has performed at festivals, libraries, on television and radio, for workshops in schools and even to a group of MPs at the House of Commons.
This is his third panto appearance following an appearance as Slave of the Ring in a touring production of Aladdin and then last year in the title role in Robin Hood at the Marlowe, Canterbury.
“I like to have an interactive role,” he says – which he will undoubtedly get alongside Margi Clarke and the Lyceum’s favourite Dame, Damian Williams.
Sid is a trained actor who has appeared in Shakespeare as well as family shows which include tours of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Twits, which he remembers came to the Lyceum.
He was nevertheless a late entrant into the profession, having started out in the world of business. “When I was in sales and marketing I remember once being given the role of asking people what they would like to have been otherwise.
“I said I would probably be an actor like Robert De Niro or Al Pacino. I understood what they were trying to do.”
It seemed no more realistic than the way he wanted to be a fireman when he was a kid but just turning 30 he saw an advert for a new drama school in Brighton and took the plunge. It was a risk, especially as he had just become a dad, but he got through the two-year course, moonlighting as a postman and supported by his family. “I got on well and things started happening quickly for me.”
Generations of kids can be grateful.
Sleeping Beauty opens on Friday at the Lyceum and runs to January 7.