Pantomime dame Marc and his mates reach semi-finals of flagship talent show.
It was a moment to remember for Marc Kelly, and seven other pantomime dames, when they were given the thumbs up by the judging panel of Britain’s Got Talent. Marc, who owns the Razzamataz Theatre School territories of Hackney and Radlett, appeared on the nation’s television screens recently when he and his troop of dames took part in the popular ITV talent show.
The eight pantomime professionals, calling themselves Dame Nation, performed the songs It’s Raining Men and I Will Survive which were hits for The Weather Girls and Gloria Gaynor respectively. The lyrics of both songs were changed in sections with all four ITV judges – Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams – expressing their approval. Cowell even remarked: “Just like the Spice Girls but better singers.”
Yet these performances are nothing new to Marc and his fellow dames who are regulars on Britain’s pantomime circuit. For the best part of the past decade Marc has appeared at pantos in Grantham, Sutton, Barking and more recently Radlett. And when the Covid pandemic led to the temporary closure of a number of theatres across the UK, Marc and his friends decided to form Dame Nation.
They survived the various Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) auditions to finally enjoy their moment in the sun on ITV’s flagship programme when they received four ‘yes’ votes from the judges. The auditions took place at the London Palladium and Dame Nation is now waiting to take part in the BGT semi-finals.
Marc, who plays the character Dame Dotty, has devoted his life to the performing arts and through his two Razzamataz territories is helping UK youngsters to embrace the joy of song, acting and dance. Marc says: “Razzamataz has given me a wonderful opportunity to inspire children and young people through my love of performing arts.
“I have seen time and time again how students gain confidence and self-belief simply by coming to our classes. Razzamataz is such a supportive community and I know that all of our students and families will be cheering on Dame Dotty and Dame Nation in the semi-finals.”
And he also endorsed the role played by pantomime, adding: “It is a wonderful British tradition and is as popular as ever. In many cases, panto is a child’s first experience of the theatre. It’s an opportunity for them to really immerse themselves in a story. As a panto dame, I love watching the children getting so involved in the story and laughing and having fun.”
Later this year a selection of Razzamataz students will get the opportunity to appear at one of London’s most famous theatres. They will perform at the Shaftesbury Theatre where they will express the skills they have learned across a number of styles, from traditional West End and Broadway musicals, through to the more commercial genres of street dance, acting for camera and singing.
The Razzamataz franchise is entirely flexible allowing each territory Principal to design their own performing arts’ programmes. Franchisees receive training and business support from Razzamataz HQ, along with advice on recruitment. The role allows Principals to combine their franchise duties with other commitments, making it the perfect business for parents and freelancers.