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With a passion for dance and drama at a young age, fuelled by a coveted place at the Dance Design School of Performing Arts in Liverpool, Kirkby born Paul was quick off the mark. A handful of school boy parts in Brookside and Grange Hill were quickly followed by a series of more serious movie dance roles, including one in ‘Across the Universe’, directed by Broadway and West End Lion King director Julie Taymor. Dancer and dance teacher Paul then took to the charts in a plethora of late nineties and early noughties music video performances, before becoming one of our on-board dancers in 2009.
Now celebrating his tenth year with Peel Entertainment, including his third as our show producer, Paul’s career trajectory makes for inspirational reading.
“I took my first role with Peel at 22 on board Thomson Destiny and loved it! Working hard and ensuring I picked up all the material quickly meant that by my second contract I’d already been promoted to dance caption, a role which involves making sure all the dancers are clean, sharp and performing at a good standard.
“Following a few contracts I was then promoted to assistant choreographer where I was responsible for teaching the shows to the cast and assisting the choreographer and creative team in creating the new shows. As assistant choreographer you are the vital continuity between the guest choreographer and the cast, so the main thing for me was to make sure that I knew absolutely every step for every person across all 11 shows and ensured that not only did they know it but they played their parts to perfection by absolutely nailing those dance routines!
“Then following a few years as an associate producer for Peel, I was promoted to my current role of show producer where I now work closely alongside Peel’s creative and managing directors, to produce all the shows for Marella Dream, Celebration, Discovery and Discovery 2.
“Working from first line ideas through to creating story lines, staging, costume, choreography and vocal arrangements for 11 shows every year is an exciting challenge. The success of Peel’s shows is always down to the talent they recruit and so I also spend a lot of time in London auditioning the thousands of dancers and singers who eventually become the 100 plus show team members we currently need for our cruise ship entertainment contracts each year.
“I also enjoy that our Peel shows like Putting on the Glitz with Anton du Beke and Africa starring Lion King the Movie vocalist, Lindiwe Brown Mkhize – which we produced especially for this year’s prestigious Wave Awards – enables me to work with incredible talent.
“We are always experimenting with music, themes, dance genres and technology to create bespoke shows which are not only dripping with the wow factor but appeal to a really wide audience base. Some of our most successful shows are those which fuse together different music and dance genres to create something totally fresh. Twisted Strings which is currently running on Marella Dream fuses classical musical instruments with a pop beat, a combination which works stunningly with the classic balletic and jazz content I have choreographed.
“My favourite show to produce with the creative team was Nashville which presents a real mash up of dance styles including tap, jazz, street and country in a really experimental and funky way. Our ability to weave together some great story telling with a fabulous sound track and vocals is what we are really good at. I co-choreographed this with our associate producer, Allaynah Wilkinson, a collaboration which has created something really special – and the reward as always is when the cruise guest feedback absolutely confirms that!”