Emily Wood and Paul Hendy started Evolution Productions in 2005 and have built a reputation for superior, bespoke pantomimes with the emphasis on high quality production values, strong casting and genuinely funny scripts.
They are extremely proud that in a Daily Mail report on the ‘Top Ten Pantomimes in the Country’, three of the shows were produced by Evolution. They were also delighted to win 'Pantomime of the Year' at the Great British Pantomime Awards in 2016/17 (for Dick Whittington at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury), and in 2017/18 (for Mother Goose at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield).
Emily and Paul pride themselves on casting some of the country’s most talented performers, among them Stephen Mulhern, Phil Gallagher, Emma Barton, Jake Wood, Rita Simons, Scott Maslen, Sally Lindsay, Sam Womack, Ade Edmondson, Nigel Havers, Gareth Gates, Steve McFadden, Larry Lamb, Shane Lynch (Boyzone), Shaun Williamson, Matt Baker, George Takei (Star Trek), Toyah Willcox, Wendi Peters, John Partridge, Sheila Ferguson (Three Degrees), Phil Daniels (Quadrophenia), Joe Swash (I’m A Celebrity…), Ian ‘H’ Watkins (Steps); Sid Sloane, Andy Day, Cat Sandion, Rebecca Keatley (all CBeebies) and Vanilla Ice (… yes, Vanilla Ice!!).
Winner of 'Pantomime of the Year' 2016/17 & 2017/18 at the Great British Pantomime Awards!"
Emily Wood Producer
Emily read French and Italian literature at Oxford University and subsequently worked as a Production Manager for a company who made high-end cinema commercials. During this period she worked with esteemed British film director, Jonathan Glazer, on projects for Stella Artois, Levis and the famous Guinness ads, as well as his film Birth starring Nicole Kidman.
However, live theatre was always Emily’s passion and producing pantomimes was perhaps a pre-destined fate for Kent-based Emily; her Great-grandfather toured Variety and Pierrot shows all over the country during the early 1900s, and her parents are a theatrical producer and designer.
Evolution is very much a family business as Emily works alongside her mother as well as her husband. She also juggles the huge demands of the business with having a young family. Her three beautiful children, Freddie, Poppy and Jago are proud owners of the Guinness World Record for the most pantomimes watched in one year. Emily hopes this isn’t child cruelty!
Paul Hendy Producer, Writer and Director
Paul Hendy is a scriptwriter, director and producer.
On television, Paul hosted shows such as The Disney Club, Don’t Try This At Home with Davina McCall and Wheel of Fortune (which had been running for twenty-three years until Paul hosted one series and they cancelled it!) He also hosted the BAFTA nominated Dear Mr Barker and the cult classic Stash the Cash (‘cult’ meaning it was rubbish but students liked it!).
His novels Diary Of A C-List Celeb (in no way autobiographical… honest!) and Who Killed Simon Peters? were published by Transworld in 2004 and 2009. They received great critical acclaim and were subsequently translated into Russian and Greek. The novels can currently be found in the bargain bins of most reputable bookshops.
Paul directed and produced the UK Tour of Mister Maker & The Shapes Live!, he also directed and produced a UK Tour of Morecambe. Paul has recently optioned the film rights for Morecambe… watch this space!
No stranger to pantomimes (having appeared in his first 32 years ago!), he is extremely proud of Evolution's reputation for high quality productions and is thrilled to have achieved his ambition of producing, writing and directing at some of the best theatres in the country.
Kate Roddy Associate Producer
Kate’s worked in UK theatre for 20 years.
As an actress she has been in everything from West End Musicals to a Golden Globe winning HBO film.
Kate is very proud to have had a working relationship with Evolution Productions since their first Pantomime season (appearing in Cinderella alongside Paul Hendy!). She enjoyed several further productions with the company, in roles such as Fairy SugarSnap, Slave of the Ring and Nancy in Oliver!
After relocating in 2012 from London to Canterbury with her family, Kate was delighted to join the production team at Evolution. She has enjoyed the challenges of working in this side of the industry, in everything from casting, booking tours, to directing and taking a production Singapore.
Amy Chamberlain Wardrobe Supervisor and Store Manager
After finding Evolution for work experience at University, Amy decided that she would never leave, and has now been with the company for 7 years – even bringing her dog Nala with in her!
Starting as a scenic artist, she was then was handed the golden reins of being Wardrobe Supervisor four years ago. In these years she's catalogued, washed, ironed, written 100’s of costume lists, polished shoe’s, measured countless actors and packed 1000’s of costumes!
When I’m she's not working Amy makes amazing cake creations, watches baking programmes and then talk about them at work!
Michelle Marden Senior Scenic Artist
Michelle studied Creative Arts for Theatre and Film at UCA in Rochester and first worked for Evolution during her second year on a work experience placement. After graduation Michelle started with Evolution as a scenic painter and worked her way up, she now takes on work experience placements from her old course throughout the beginning of the year.
Other areas Michelle has worked in include: painting sets and props for Endemol Shine Group, teaching life drawing on her old uni course as a graduate teaching assistant, as well as helping out on costume and set based projects. She also does freelance painting for kid’s bedrooms and murals.
In one day Michelle might go from carving a Chinese dog statue for Aladdin, making a 1:25 scale model piece for Cinderella and marking out a new nursery flat for Peter Pan, to repairing a cloth and refreshing the glitter. When it comes to Panto her mantra is, if you’re asking yourself ‘is there enough glitter?’ the answer is almost always no, there’s always room for more glitter!