Treasure Island at the Hall For Cornwall  

The Hall for Cornwall celebrates Christmas with a rip-roaring production of Treasure Island. Jim, his mum and their pet chough have fallen on hard times. All looks lost until a tattered treasure map lands in Jim’s lap – if only they can find a boat, a crew, and safe passage to a mysterious faraway island … Join them as they set sail for a magical island full of treasure, treachery and adventure. 

Edward Rowe (aka Kernow King, and the lead actor in the Bafta-winning film Bait) stars as Long John Silver.  

Hi Edward! It’s that time again – how many pantos have you done now?  

I did a trilogy at the Hall For Cornwall, all based around my character of Kenwyn; for the third, in 2017, I was nominated for a Great British Pantomime Award for best leading male. I was surrounded by West End stars at the ceremony – it was unreal. I also did a Christmas sketch show with Simon Harvey, Richard Healey and Mary Woodvine, which was fun.

What makes Christmas at the Hall For Cornwall so special? 

Having also played a Buttons-type character in a massive big-budget affair in Cardiff, what I love about the Cornish productions that they have so much heart and soul, and are so deeply connected to Cornwall. Plus, for a lad from Roche, it’s home ground.  

What do you especially like about panto?  

I love making the kids laugh. It’s just magic. You see them with their families in the foyer afterwards, and they are starstruck to meet you. It means so much to them – there’s a real sense of joy.  

Is it hard work? 

It’s like going to the gym for a blast workout! You’re singing, dancing, moving all the time – I always lose loads of weight. You have to really look after yourself, eat well and take vitamins. It’s relentless, but so much fun. I missed doing Christmas shows like this during the pandemic and couldn’t wait to get back to it.  

Which moments stand out for you? 

I have fond memories of all three Kenwyn shows. There was a giant inflatable beanstalk for Dick Whittington and his Mousehole Cat, and in Sleeping Beauty, it was a dream come true to fly across the Hall For Cornwall stage with an electric guitar and a ginger wig – not to mention fireworks. Panto is a great training ground, and I grew a lot as an actor in those shows. It’s a competitive field, so I was very lucky to play a lead part.  

What’s your take on Long John Silver?  

I reckon he’ll be a Cornish Johnny Depp. I might not have his hair, but I’ve got his cheekbones! Seriously though, I won’t know for sure until rehearsals start on November 7. I’ve seen the script, and I will probably chip in with gags as I’m going along. One thing is for sure: this Long John Silver will be an authentic Cornish pirate.  

You opened the new Hall For Cornwall as part of the cast of Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical 

Yes, and I think it’s stunning. I’ve since been as an audience member and it’s an incredible experience from both sides, from the architecture to the facilities. I love it when they open both entrances and you can see right through from Boscawen Street to Lemon Quay. It’s a real jewel in Cornwall’s crown. 

What else have you been up to?  

I’ve filmed several TV roles: in House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones prequel, as Paddy Considine’s right-hand man; as Tom Burke’s best friend in Strike, to be shown around Christmas time; and Beyond Paradise, a spin-off from Death in Paradise, which will be on BBC1 in 2023. I’m also in Enys Men, Mark Jenkin’s follow-up to Bait, which is due out in January.  

You’ve also released your own film, Hub Madel, in Cornish  

Yes, it’s a short film, 11 minutes long, about a young farmer/rugby player who is struggling with his sexuality. I wanted to hear everyday people – farmers, rugby players – speaking Cornish on screen. I started learning Cornish in 2016, and would urge anyone to do the same – it’s a wonderful thing.  

Treasure Island runs from December 3 to 31 at the Hall for Cornwall, Truro. Tickets from £15. Family tickets and group rates available. For further details and to book, call 01872 262466 or visit hallforcornwall.co.uk  

Hub Madel shows at Pydar Pop-Up on October 21, with future dates to be confirmed. paloresproductions.co.uk