Seven Dwarves Biographies
When he is not on stage, 31-year-old Max works in telemarketing. But he is serious about pursuing a career in acting and although he doesn't like taking jobs that make fun of his height, Max knows that Panto Season is an opportunity to make good money and have fun at the same time. Max is in a relationship with Karen, a fellow actor and also a little person.
Growing up as the only dwarf in an average height family, Max has a twin sister Hannah with whom he's very close. He enjoys a laugh down the pub is one of the biggest personalities in the group, but with a sensitive side to him.
‘I may be small,' Max says, ‘but I think I've got a bit of a talent. And I want to prove that to people.'
The eldest of the group, 43-year-old Karen is a confident and bubbly woman. She is very close to her two daughters, aged 9 and 17, who are average height, and Karen juggles bringing them up with working part-time as a children's Nursery assistant. Karen is in a relationship with Max and this pantomime season will be the first time they will live together.
Her passion is dancing, but professionally, Karen's heart really lies in theatre. Last summer she starred as a witch in a production of Macbeth at The Globe Theatre in London. And in spring she starts rehearsals for The Beggars Opera - an open-air play to be shown at Regents Park. Karen calls herself a ‘fake dwarf', as she doesn't have Achondroplasia like most of the others in the house.
Karen says: ‘I'm a mum and an actress away from home at Christmas. It's a tough balancing act. We're little but we're normal, that's what I want people to see - and the laughs we have!'
Twenty-six-year-old party animal, Craig, is all for living in the moment. He makes no excuses for burning both ends of the candle, as he doesn't know what life will be like in 10 or 15 years time due to the increasing physical effects of his condition. Craig has a rare condition called Moore-Federman syndrome which has caused his short-stature but means he does not have other characteristics like shorter limbs, bowed legs and prominent forehead that are most commonly associated with dwarfism. The others in the group, apart from Karen, all have Achondroplasia, which is the condition causing 70% of dwarfism.
He lives in Lincoln and, when he's not acting, works part-time in accounts at an interior design company. Craig is quietly ambitious and doesn't see his size as a limiting factor in his personal or professional life. He also embraces the Panto Season's culture of working hard and playing hard.
‘I have absolutely no regrets in life and wouldn't want to change anything about my size' Craig says. ‘I consider myself very fortunate and have always felt very special.'
This will be the first time that 26-year-old Ryan will perform in pantomime. He met most of the other dwarves through being in Harry Potter. Ryan lives in Portsmouth and works in marketing for an international perfume company. His mum played a big role in the Restricted Growth Association after a doctor told her when Ryan was born that due to his Achondroplasia he could always join the circus.
He is excited about panto and looking forward to immersing himself in the ‘small world'. Ryan did previously know small people, but this time he will be living and working with them. He also met his current girlfriend, who is average height, just before filming.
Most likely to be seen bashing out drum beats on pillows - practice for his rock band.
Jamie John is 22-years-old and lives on site in a caravan at Potters Leisure resort near Great Yarmouth, where he works as an entertainer. At 4ft 8in he is the tallest in the house. A lively and flamboyant character with lots of friends, Jamie John has an alter-ego, Miss DQ, as part of a tall-small drag act with his friend Lee.
Jamie cites his dad as one of his heroes - he was also a dwarf and a performer until he passed away five years ago when he was taken ill during rehearsals for a pantomime production with Jamie. After panto season, Jamie John is taking his Miss DQ routine to venues in the Stoke-on-Trent area.
One of his favourite phrases is ‘I'm a diva and proud of it!'
At 20, Josh is the youngest of the group, and enjoys being spoilt by his mum and sister. He comes from a dynasty of little people performers, his mother, Sarah and Grandfather Alan were Ewoks in the film Return of the Jedi. This is the first time he is alone in Panto without one of his family looking after him, so struggles with being homesick. As well as working as an extra at premieres and parties, Josh also does gigs as entertainment at Stag Dos in various colourful outfits.
Josh explains: ‘It's always the bigger women that tend to grab me, and swing me around and shove my head in their breasts'
Twenty-one-year-old Laura was a child swimming champion. She has won numerous gold medals and even broken some world records. Like all of the others, Laura has worked on Harry Potter films. She tours with the Barney the Dinosaur Live and has travelled all over the world from the age of 16 with the production. Laura is best friends with Josh.
She loves make-up, hair and fashion and says is there was one thing about herself she could change, it would be that she didn't have to dye her hair black every few weeks. She also has a healthy collection of tattoos. When Laura is in London, her first stop is to visit Josh and his family. Laura has known the family for some time and Josh's mum, also a dwarf, enjoys being able to ‘adopt' Laura while she's visiting.
‘I want people to enjoy us working hard and having fun at this time of the year', says Laura, ‘but also to understand some of the problems we face every day. It doesn't always feel like a small world we're all living in.'