A couple who became engaged to marry in front of hundreds, during a staged pantomime, now plan to open a new community performing arts centre in Doncaster.
Epworth-based Kim Oakley and Troy Duffill run the Street Beat dance company. It was during their pantomime ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ in December that Troy, who was panto dame, did a lightning change in the wings before rushing back on stage to get down on one knee and propose to 35-year old Kim.
Troy, 25. had joined Kim at Isle-based Streetbeat after touring as a technician with pantomime company Qdos. The talented performer had to give up his stage career when he injured his back.
The couple met when they were both employed on a summer show in Scarborough, then worked together once more before they finally got together in 2012.
“We laughed at the same things. I had found someone who was as passionate about performing as I was and that makes a huge difference when the job demands so many unsocial hours,” said Kim, who qualified in law before deciding she had to work in theatre.
But the proposal was a complete shock, she added: “He knew that I would love a big public proposal among my extended family in Street Beat. I never expected it at the end of the panto though. I am so glad it was captured on camera as I have no recollection of it at all....I was so caught up in the moment.”
Now their plans for the wedding this year - and the opening of their arts project to develop talent in dance, singing and acting, are works in progress.
“Troy has broached the idea of my coming down the aisle on a zip wire,” laughed Kim. “I’m not so keen on that but I’m sure whatever we do decide on will be somewhat ridiculous.”
Their performing arts facility will, they hope, carry charitable status and will be a ‘huge, community project’. They have earmarked a council building within a deprived area of Doncaster and would welcome any offers of sponsorship towards their scheme, which they hope will also reduce anti-social behaviour as they attract youngsters off the streets and in to their studios.
Kim is also training to teach dance to people with dementia and disabilities. Both she and Troy have a wealth of experience between them in professional dance, teaching, choreography, theatre sound and lighting and production.