This year’s pantomime at The Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds is more than just a show – it’s a real-life love story. Jez and Gemma Edwards, who fell in love during rehearsals for Snow White in 2009, now return to the stage as a married couple with two children, symbolizing their journey from meeting to becoming a family immersed in the art of pantomime.
What is the real-life love story behind this year’s pantomime at The Carriageworks Theatre?
Jez and Gemma Edwards’ real-life love story, which began during rehearsals for Snow White in 2009, echoes the fairy tale they perform in. Now married with two children, they return to The Carriageworks Theatre’s stage this Christmas, starring in Snow White, symbolizing their journey from meeting to becoming a family immersed in the art of pantomime.
On the bustling stage of The Carriageworks Theatre, an enchanting love story unfolds, transcending the realms of fairy tales and pantomimes, and blossoming into the real world. This Christmas season, Leeds pantomime stalwart Jez Edwards and his wife Gemma are set to co-star in a delightful rendition of Snow White, a tale that remarkably parallels their own life’s narrative.
The Beginning of a Pantomime Romance
It was back in 2009 when Jez Edwards, a newcomer to Leeds, and Gemma, a panto debutante, first crossed paths. Their meeting occurred amidst the magic of rehearsals for Snow White. “Walking into rehearsals on the first day is always interesting,” Jez reflects, “You meet the cast for the first time and you discover all the different characters and personalities you are going to be working with.” For Jez and Gemma, the connection was instantaneous, sparked by shared humor and the camaraderie of the cast. It’s a romance that has since seen the couple tie the knot and welcome two children, Elsie and Wilfred, into their family.
Over the years, while Gemma took a hiatus from the spotlight to focus on their family, Jez continued to spread cheer as a Christmas fixture at The Carriageworks, known for his roles that left audiences in stitches. This year’s production, however, marks a special homecoming for Gemma, who steps back onto the stage as the Forest Fairy, alongside Jez’s comic character, Muddles. It’s a performance that promises to be a blend of professional artistry and heartfelt family moments, with their children watching from the seats.
Behind the Curtains: Preparation and Parenthood
Preparing for a pantomime is no small feat, especially when juggling the demands of family life. For Jez and Gemma, the balance comes from contrasting work styles. Gemma’s meticulous approach to perfection complements Jez’s “fly by the seat of his pants” attitude. This dynamism not only fuels their rehearsals but also adds depth to their performance. Gemma acknowledges the challenges faced by many mothers returning to the workforce, stating, “It’s super important for me to claim some of that back now.”
Jez’s pride in Gemma’s return to the stage is palpable. He views her as an inspiration, not just to their children but to all parents finding their way back to their passions. His words resonate with sincerity: “I’ve always wanted the kids to see their mum on stage doing what she does best.” This sentiment echoes through their home as they run lines and embody the characters that will soon delight countless fans.
The Pantomime Legacy and Future
For Jez, the upcoming performances at The Carriageworks hold particular significance. “Leeds has given me everything,” he says. His gratitude extends to the city that brought him love, a family, and a place to call home. Pantomime, a tradition deeply embedded in family experiences, becomes a conduit for Jez to share joy with the community. With the theatre nestled in The Electric Press, the venue is a cultural beacon on Millennium Square, with Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, highlighting the importance of panto season for families across Leeds.
Snow White’s journey from the pages of Grimm’s fairy tales to The Carriageworks’ stage is a testament to the enduring allure of live theatre. This year, it also narrates the story of a family united by love, art, and the festive spirit of pantomime. As the curtain rises on this year’s show, running through Christmas until January 7, theatre-goers are invited to witness a performance steeped in genuine warmth and joy. For performance times and ticket information, the theatre’s website offers all the details needed to be a part of this holiday tradition (Carriageworks Theatre).
In conclusion, as the city of Leeds dons its festive attire, The Carriageworks Theatre prepares to enchant audiences with a panto that is as much about family on stage as it is off. It’s a celebration of community, artistry, and the magical confluence of life imitating art.
- Jez and Gemma Edwards fell in love during rehearsals for Snow White in 2009 and now return to the stage as a married couple with two children.
- Gemma took a break from the spotlight to focus on their family while Jez continued to perform in pantomimes at The Carriageworks Theatre.
- Jez and Gemma have different work styles, with Gemma being meticulous and Jez being more spontaneous, which adds depth to their performances.
- Leeds has given Jez everything and he views pantomime as a way to share joy with the community.
- Snow White at The Carriageworks Theatre is a celebration of family, community, and the magical connection between life and art.