Stars of Falkirk’s First Professional Panto Announced

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Panto-goers in Falkirk are set for a ball this festive season with the spectacular family panto Cinderella. FTH have teamed up with Imagine Theatre, one of the country’s top pantomime producers, to stage their first professional pantomime and they are delighted to be able announce that the show will star River City’s Sally Howitt as the Wicked Stepmother and Falkirk’s own Barbara Bryceland as Fairy Godmother.

Sally Howitt is a familiar face across Scotland due to her role as Scarlett Adams in the highly popular River City.  Sally has appeared in pantomime in Kilmarnock for the last two years and is delighted to have been asked to perform in Falkirk this season.

“I am really excited to be part of Falkirk’s first professional pantomime and cannot wait to be a baddie again as it is so much fun. I enjoy the live performance of panto and there is nothing like hearing the whoops of excitement from the audience as the lights go down and knowing you are about to take them away from real life for a few hours into a magical story, and Cinderella is one of the most magical of them all!”

Barbara Bryceland shot to fame on the X Factor back in 2007 and quickly became a household name throughout Scotland and was back on our screens in 2012 in The Voice, being mentored by the legendary Tom Jones. Barbara now performs all over the world and is excited to be taking on the challenge of her first ever pantomime in the town she now calls home.

Steve Boden, Managing Director of Imagine Theatre, says “We are very excited about producing Cinderella in Falkirk this year and we promise to put on a stunning show with a fabulous cast, an amazing set and costumes and a lot of hilarious slapstick. Having worked with Sally in the past we know what an amazing baddie she is, and Barbara has such a wonderful voice she is just perfect for the role of Fairy Godmother.”

The show runs from Friday 7 – Monday 24 December 2018 so hurry and get your tickets to the ball.

To book tickets to please contact box office on 01324 506850 or visit www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org

Sam Bailey set to sing her heart out with panto return at De Montfort Hall

X-Factor winner and Leicester favourite Sam Bailey will be starring in pantomime this Christmas at De Montfort Hall.

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De Montfort Hall and Imagine Theatre have announced her return alongside BBC Radio Leicester’s Martin Ballard, in this year’s family pantomime Peter Pan.

Sam Bailey is back for her third consecutive year, winning the hearts of theatre-goers last year with her phenomenal singing voice in the Hall’s best-ever panto, Beauty and the Beast.

Sam, currently starring in the UK tour of Fat Friends, said of her return “I’m so excited to be back in Leicester this Christmas. I love doing panto – it’s such a great show for families and it’s really fun to do. This year Peter Pan is going to be amazing.”

Martin Ballard will don a frock once again to play the loveable Dame character with further star names for the rest of the cast to be announced shortly.

Antony Flint, De Montfort Hall General Manager, said “We are absolutely delighted to have Sam and Martin back on board. Over the last few years they have proved themselves to be pantomime favourites. We hope to build on the success of last year’s panto and things are already looking good with this year’s ticket sales at a record high. We are looking forward to announcing further star castings shortly.” 

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Peter Pan will take audiences on a magical adventure to Neverland, as the Darling children meet Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys and of course the villainous Captain Hook. There will be flying (no ladders though!), fairy dust, traditional songs, dance, slapstick and a ticking crocodile – everything that makes a traditional De Montfort Hall pantomime.

Auditions will be held in June for the junior chorus and the roles of John and Michael. Further information on this will be available shortly at demontforthall.co.uk

Peter Pan runs from Saturday 15 December to Sunday 6 January 2019. Adult tickets from £14.50, with children and group rates available. For more information or to book tickets call 0116 233 3111 or go to demontforthall.co.uk

Justin Fletcher and Paul Morse Return for More Panto Fun at The Hexagon

The Hexagon are delighted to announce that both children’s TV megastar Justin Fletcher and award-winning panto dame Paul Morse will be back in Reading this year for the magical family pantomime Aladdin.

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Justin Fletcher is adored all over the country for his numerous children’s shows such as Justin’s House, Gigglebiz and Something Special, starring Mr Tumble.  He received an MBE in 2008 and has won numerous BAFTA Awards.
 
This will be his seventh panto appearance at The Hexagon and his second as Wishee Washee.

Justin says "I love playing Wishee Washee because he's a friend of the audience. It's so wonderful to have that interaction with families and see them laughing and joining in with the show."

He is also pleased to be re-united with on-stage mum Paul Morse. "Paul and I have worked together for quite a few years now and he's a lovely guy. He is a very generous performer and the longer we work together the stronger the chemistry on stage."

As always Justin will have a very busy year before returning to panto-land with live appearances all over the country in both theatres and at festivals as well as filming another series of the BAFTA Award winning Gigglebiz.

Paul, who has appeared in five pantomimes at the venue, says: “It's lovely to come back to the Hexagon as the theatre staff are so welcoming and supportive and the audiences really do come along to join in and kick start their Christmases.

“One of the highlights of playing a dame is always the fabulous costumes and the costume department at Imagine know the more bling the better! 

This will be Justin and Paul’s fourth year working together and Paul says of their partnership “We work very well together and having worked with each other so closely we have great in-sync rhythm and energy and just know what the other one is doing or going to do and the other can go along and support it in the moment. At the end of the day if Justin and I are having fun, the audience can feel that and it's infectious, before you know it even the most reluctant member of the family is joining in!”

Don’t miss your chance to see Justin Fletcher and Paul in the magical family pantomime Aladdin which runs from Saturday 8 December 2018 – Sunday 6 January 2019. With last year’s Peter Pan proving a smash hit with audiences The Hexagon recommend booking tickets early.

For full details call the box office on 0118 9606060 or log on to www.readingarts.com

 

Junior Chorus Audition Dates 2018

Here are some early dates for children's auditions for our 2018 pantomime season (several more audition dates to follow soon)

Record Breaking Season for De Montfort Hall

More people than ever have come to see the pantomime in Leicester this year, De Montfort Hall has revealed.

 Production photograph: Pamela Raith

Production photograph: Pamela Raith

The record-breaking attendance has, for the first time, broken through the 30,000 mark.

Since reintroducing pantomime at the Hall in 2013, attendance has been growing year on year, with this year marking a new record, not just for pantomime but for any previous Christmas show at the venue.

Ticket sales for Beauty and the Beast were so strong they had overtaken the previous year’s after just the first week of performances.

A total of 30,278 tickets were sold across the 38-show run, which starred Dick and Dom’s Richard McCourt and X Factor winner Sam Bailey, an increase of 10% on last year’s show.

Special schools performances were sold out in the first week of the run, and the relaxed performance for people with an autistic spectrum condition or communication disorder also proved very popular.

De Montfort Hall general manager, Antony Flint, said: “We are really pleased that so many people have come to watch our pantomime this year. Leicester folk of every generation have really taken it into their hearts and it’s become a real family tradition to come and watch the panto each year.

“We are already planning next season’s show – Peter Pan – and are looking forward to bringing a bit of panto magic back for Christmas 2018.”

Peter Pan is proving a popular choice, with hundreds of tickets already being sold during this year’s run.

Councillor Piara Singh Clair, Deputy City Mayor and Lead on Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “The pantomime is a great boost for Leicester, attracting thousands of extra people and revenue into the city each day and we are really pleased that so many people have been able to enjoy these shows.”

 

 

Tom Milner Charming Audiences in Southport This Christmas

Southport Theatre are delighted to announce that Tom Milner, most recently seen on The Voice, will be taking on the role of Prince Charming in Cinderella this Christmas.

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On The Voice Tom was selected for Team Ricky before even reaching the chorus of ‘Wait on Me’ in his blind audition and he says of his experience on the BBC talent show: “The Voice was great experience! People would pay a lot of money to get advice from four top professionals in Will.I am, Boy George, Paloma Faith and Rick (Ricky Wilson) - and I got it for free! More importantly I met some friends for life from the show and I’ve done some collaborations with a couple since.”

Tom has also appeared on our screens as Paul Langley in Waterloo Road, Holby City, Barking and Doctors.

This will be Tom’s second pantomime with producer’s Imagine Theatre, and like many performers he has fond memories of pantomime from his childhood.

“I always remember watching Frank Bruno in a panto and my older brother got up on stage at the end of the show. I was gutted as I was too young!”

“Doing panto always makes Christmas feel that extra bit special! They’re filled with fun for everyone of all ages too so the whole family can enjoy them together. I do love TV because you get to go again if you go wrong!! However treading the boards and having a live audience to bounce off wins hands down!”

“This will be my first appearance at Southport Theatre and I can’t wait - although I’ve heard it’s pretty cold so I’ll have to dig out the Parka coat and dress as an Eskimo during the period!”

“I am looking forward to working with everyone on the show. I’ve had friends who have worked with Sam Kane before and can’t speak highly enough of him.... NO pressure Sam!”

Cinderella is a really magical show that makes us believe that our dreams really could come true and who wouldn’t want a Fairy Godmother of their own. If I did I would wish that I was the frontman of either The Stereophonics or Maroon 5 or just to be a rock star in general!”

Steve Boden, Managing Director of Imagine Theatre, says “We are delighted to have on Tom on board for this show and we are very grateful that he was able to step in when Joe Ashman, who was originally going to be playing Prince, had to withdraw. Tom is a top class performer with a wealth of experience in theatre, television and the music industry and he will be a brilliant prince.”

Full Casting Announced for De Montfort Hall’s pantomime

The De Montfort Hall are delighted to announce their full casting for this year's spectacular family pantomime, Beauty and the Beast.

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Sarah Accomando and Karl Loxley will play the title roles of Beauty and the Beast, alongside Daniel Tawse in his first De Montfort Hall pantomime playing the role of villain Eugene.

They are joining the previously announced Richard McCourt from Dick and Dom, X-Factor finalist and Leicester favourite Sam Bailey, Heartbeat’s David Lonsdale and BBC Radio Leicester’s Martin Ballard who will be donning a frock for the seventh time to play Dame Kimmy Shoo!

Sarah Accomando who is playing Beauty is delighted to be returning to a role that has a special place in her heart having played Disney’s Belle for The Walt Disney Company in Tokyo, Japan.

Karl Loxley, former contestant of The Voice, will be largely unrecognisable hidden behind a mask as the Beast. Karl has been busy performing concerts to sell-out crowds across the UK and flying around the world to perform on luxury cruise liners since appearing on the show.

Both Sarah and Karl are making return visits to De Montfort Hall having previously appeared together in the 2015 pantomime, Snow White, playing the title role and the prince.

Sarah said: “I am thrilled to be back at De Montfort Hall this Christmas. I was last here as Snow White a couple of years back and I had such a blast, so I just know this Christmas is going to be a lot of fun. I met so many wonderful people whilst working in Leicester so I just can’t wait to be back.”

Antony Flint, De Montfort Hall general manager, added “Our aim is to build on the success of previous years and believe that this is our strongest cast to date offering something for the whole family. We want to give the Leicester audiences a proper Leicester show with lots of in jokes, local references and talent - I’m sure there will be the odd reference to bogies this year if Richard has anything to do with it!”

Beauty and the Beast runs from Saturday 16 December 2017 until Sunday 7 January 2018.

The Grand Pavilion’s Panto Cast Set for a Ball This Christmas

The Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl are delighted to announce their full cast for the magical family pantomime Cinderella.

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As previously announced Grand Pavilion favourites Jolyon Dixon and Nathan Guy are returning for another year of panto mayhem and joining them are some familiar faces from last year’s Jack and the Beanstalk. Jeremy Cave who played the villainous Fleshcreep is getting touch with his dark side again, albeit this time in a dress as an Ugly Sister.

“I was 18 when I did my first panto and I played an Ugly Sister on a world trip onboard the cruise ship the Oriana -  that was 12 years ago so can't wait to put the lippy back on!  I am looking forward to getting back with all the gang as it was an amazing cast and crew on Jack and the Beanstalk so I am delighted a lot of the same people are back again. Me and Jolyon had such a laugh on stage and off and just can't wait to partner up with him this year for more hilarity!”

“I really enjoyed spending last Christmas in Porthcawl. It is hard to pin point my favourite thing but you can't beat that view every morning! We were lucky with the weather and nearly every day there was a beautiful sunrise and sunset.” 

Rasheeda Ali and Jessie Lilley are also returning for their second year. Rasheeda is taking on the title role of Cinderella, having played Princess Tamara last year.

“I am delighted to be back home for Christmas again this year. It means that not only do I get to spend Christmas with my family, they get to see me in panto. My mum tells everyone she knows to come and see it and I lost count of the amount of times she saw Jack and the Beanstalk!”

“Last year was my first ever panto and I enjoyed it so much I was really excited to be invited back again this year. Cinderella is one of the most well-known of the fairy tale princesses so it is a bit nerve racking.”

Jessie played Jack last year and is delighted to be returning to Wales for the festive season as Prince Charming. “Part of the reason I am so excited to be back is to work with such a fabulous cast and crew again. Panto in Porthcawl always feels like a real team effort and everyone is very supportive of each other.”

The Grand Pavilion are also welcoming two new cast members this year with Courtney King playing the dual roles of Wicked Stepmother and Fairy Godmother and Elin Pavli-Hinde as Dandini.

Courtney says “This will be my first visit to the Grand Pavilion. The nearest I have been to Porthcawl before is Cardiff with Round the Horne. It won’t be my first Cinderella though as I have played Fairy Godmother twice before and Wicked Stepmother twice, but never both at the same time. I am looking forward to the contrast between the two, as they are so strikingly different.”

It is also Elin’s first visit to the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl but she has previously appeared in three pantomimes for Aberystwyth Arts Centre.

“I adore panto as it is a great mixture of magic and comedy and a brilliant introduction to theatre for kids. My favourite panto memory is probably when I saw Cinderella’s rags turn into a ballgown for the first time as a child… I was completely mesmerized… I remember thinking this must be magic!" 

Cinderella runs from Friday 15 December 2017 until Sunday 7 January 2018. After successive record breaking seasons we advise booking tickets early to ensure you get seats at your preferred performance.

Grimsby Auditorium’s Cinderella Cast Ready for a Ball This Christmas

The Grimsby Auditorium are delighted to announce their full cast for this year’s spectacular family pantomime Cinderella.

 The launch of the Grimsby Auditorium Panto of Cinderella, at Grimsby Town Hall.
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Joining Britain’s Got Talent finalist Jon Clegg as Buttons will be Grimsby’s own Phil Hoyles who returns to play an Ugly Sister after playing Widow Twankey in last year’s production of Aladdin. Joining him as the other half of the gruesome twosome is Kevin McGreevy in his first role as dame.

Phil has had a busy year working on his own children’s show as well as a Tommy Cooper tribute show which he has been touring since 2002. In addition he presents his own radio show and has been doing voice-over work for a well-known supermarket.

Phil says "I am delighted to be back this year. I had such a great time playing Widow Twankey last year, the audiences were brilliant and loved the show, so I'm looking forward to being back. With Grimsby being my home town, it's always good to return, especially at Christmas to spend time with family as well as working the Auditorium."

“I enjoy playing an Ugly Sister. I played it for the first time way back in 2005 when I did a touring production of Cinderella. I then spent three years playing the part of Ugly Sister and we did Haverhill, Leatherhead and the Isle of Wight. Working alongside another dame as Ugly Sister you develop a partnership and a bond during the run of the show. You can bounce off each other too which is a really fun thing to do. Also if one forgets the lines hopefully the other one can jump in!” 

For Kevin McGreevy who has spent many years playing the comic in panto, most recently at the Palace Theatre in Newark and the Royal Spa Centre in Leamington Spa, the chance to tackle a different kind of panto role is very exciting.

“I can't wait to be a Ugly Sister this year, I have been in Cinderella three times and this is the first time I'm doing it in a frock! I think the biggest challenge for me will be all the costume changes as the comic never has more than three costumes but a dame always has a lot more and there is not always much time!”

“I am looking forward to panto season as it will be a wonderful end to a busy year for me. I have been working on a fabulous interactive show called Dinosaurs in the Wild for the last few months as well a charity music festival with Peter Andre, Lulu, Gabrielle, Lemar, Feeder, Wonderstuff and many more as well as a large dance festival headline by Diversity.”

Also joining the cast are Trixie Waggott as Cinderella, Ann Micklethwaite in the dual roles of the Fairy Godmother and Wicked Stepmother, Sally Frith as the dashing Prince Charming and Laura Robson as Dandini.

Trixie is excited to be playing what she calls the “ultimate panto princess”.

“I have always loved the magic of panto and as a performer it's great to have just as much of that on the stage as well as you would as an audience member. Panto is often the first introduction into theatre for a child and I love that after seeing Cinderella at Christmas they may feel inspired to see other productions in the future. 

“As a little girl I was always obsessed with fairytales, and seeing them come to life on the stage through pantomime was amazing. My first ever panto was Snow White and I loved every second of it, seeing my family singing and dancing along made it such a great experience. Now I can't ever imagine Christmas without seeing a panto.” 

Book your tickets now to see this magical panto cast.  Cinderella runs from Friday 15th - Thursday 28th December 2017.

A 'Beauty' of a Cast for The Palace Theatre Newark Panto

The Palace Theatre’s festive plans are well under way and they are delighted to announce their full cast for this year’s spectacular family panto Beauty and the Beast.

Joining Emmerdale’s Jonathan Wrather is Tim Freeman, who is back by popular demand having played Dame Trot in last year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk. He is been joined by a host of new faces including Ryan Willis as Dame Dorothy’s daft son Willy Do it, Isabella Rubin as Beauty, David Gilbrook as Beauty’s Father, Jamie Sheerman as Pimple, Adam Pettit as the Beast and Anna Mitcham as the Enchantress.

Tim is delighted be returning to The Palace Theatre to play Dame Dorothy Do It.

“The Palace is such a lovely theatre with a great crew! Best of all though are the Newark audiences who are always up for a laugh! I have some great memories from last year. There was one show when I was chasing Kev (Simple Simon) around with a massive custard pie and I slipped over but the floor was so slippery I just couldn't stand up, when Kev tried to help me he fell over too and we ended sliding all over the place- chaos! And so embarrassing! The audience loved it though and hopefully they thought it was just part of the script!”

“Playing Dame is great as you get to have cheeky laughs with the audience and the rest of the cast! You get to mess around with custard pies as well and get paid for it – what could be better!”

This will be Ryan’s first visit to the Palace Theatre and his fourth professional pantomime having previously appeared in Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk in Guildford and Snow White in Nottingham.

Ryan understands the importance of panto on young theatregoers. “The first pantomime I saw as a child was The Wizard of Oz. It was the first theatre show I ever saw and was where my passion for theatre began. Pantomime is often a child’s first introduction to theatre and it is important we give them a fabulous show so they go away wanting to see more live theatre.”

For Jamie Sheerman this will be his second time playing Pimple having appeared in Beauty and the Beast at The Spa Centre in Leamington last year.

“Pimple is the sidekick to Eugene, Jonathan Wrather’s character, in the same way that Lefou is to Gaston in the Disney version. I get some great comedy moments in the show and it is fun being part of a duo as you can play off each other a fair bit as well.” 

The show will once again be directed by Mairi Cowieson with choreography by Graeme Pickering. Mairi says “I really enjoy working on the panto in Newark as the town has a real community spirit and the all the venue staff work really hard on the panto and help to make it a great success.”

“It is really exciting to do Beauty and the Beast as the panto this year after the huge popularity of the recent film. The panto version is, of course, very different to the Disney version and has a lot more comedy in it, but the basic story is the same and we know the audiences are going to love it.”

Beauty and the Beast runs from Friday 8 December 2017 until Wednesday 3 January 2018.