Adam Stafford Is ‘Dame’ For a Laugh at The Victoria Theatre This Christmas

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The Victoria Theatre are delighted to announce the return of dame Adam Stafford for their magical family pantomime Beauty and the Beast this Christmas.

 Adam was last at the venue two years ago for their smash hit production of Aladdin and is delighted to be returning for the show he made his Victoria Theatre debut in back in 2012, Beauty and the Beast.

 “As well as loving Halifax itself, I love performing at the Victoria Theatre. It's a proper old theatre and the audiences are always very appreciative and the theatre staff and crew are friendly and welcoming. I was sad not to get to do panto last year but I was living in Beijing directing a play for their Chinese National Children's Theatre which was a great experience.”

 In addition to Beauty and the Beast Adam is currently doing some work for Alton Towers on the new live Teletubbies show and developing a new musical. He also manages a tribute show, Suspiciously Elvis which has played all over the world. Before travelling to Halifax for the festive season he will also be directing a production of Aladdin near his home in London.

 Adam adds, “Panto is very close to my heart and I really love playing dame. It is a lot of hard work but great fun as well. The one bit of advice I would give to anyone wanting to play dame is don’t grow a beard as they always need shaving off for the panto season!”   

 “I am really looking forward to working with the hilarious Josh Benson as my new son this Christmas.” 

 Get your tickets now for this ‘beast’ of a show! Beauty and the Beast runs from Saturday 14 December 2019 until Sunday 5 January 2020.

 For more information or to book tickets please contact the Victoria Theatre box office on 01422 351158 or visit

A Beauty of a Cast for the Adam Smith Panto

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This year’s pantomime at The Adam Smith sees a variety of new faces and old in the magical tale of Beauty and the Beast.  Greg Powrie returns to play Dame following on from his 2016 appearance as Ugly Sister in Cinderella with Kim Shepherd as The Enchantress and Colin Little as Beast/Prince. Jillian Cunningham takes on the role of Belle, Adrian MacDonald will play the hilarious Cameron McKlinkie, David Rankine will be playing the odious Balloch Bennochy and James Barrie will be playing Beauty’s Father, Hugh.

Greg is delighted to be spending the festive season at the Adam Smith once more. “Appearing at The Adam Smith is something of a homecoming. Thirty-eight years ago I appeared in a Scottish Youth Theatre production at the Adam Smith, called What A Way to Run a Revolution; it was my first real taste of theatre, a fantastic production, and an experience I never looked back from. The rehearsals for the 2016 production of Cinderella took place in exactly the same room, and even after all that time there was something reassuringly familiar about the building. Secondly, and more importantly were the audiences as they took us to their hearts very quickly, and the response show after show was phenomenal! You are quite close to them at the Adam Smith, and I like that.”

Dame is one of the most iconic roles in pantomime and Greg says of playing it “I think there is a curious amnesia that comes with playing the Dame. It is utterly exhausting, and every year I sort of forget that! A Dame is only as good as his company, and I've been very lucky in that respect. I do enjoy the freedom that can go with the part, and probably enjoy it most when the unexpected happens, and that is a lot! Having license to interact with the audience is, of course, the best bit, but it always comes with a risk; you have to think fast and be ready to seize any opportunity!”

Colin Little is most used to playing the baddie and is looking forward to the challenge of a slightly different role this season. “Last year I was Abanazar at the Adam Smith and I do usually play the baddie which is great fun but this year I get a taste of both worlds in a way as the Prince, who is then turned in to the Beast, is not a particularly nice character at the start of the show but by the end he has been redeemed.”

Adrian MacDonald will be appearing in his first pantomime this year.  “I have appeared in quite a few children’s shows but I have never done panto before so I am very excited. It will also be my first time stepping out to the Adam Smith stage and I am really looking forward to starring in such a well-loved show and looking forward to having some fun and making some panto magic.”

Beauty and the Beast runs from Saturday 8 December 2018 until Saturday 5 January 2019.

To book tickets to please contact Adam Smith box office on 01592 583302 or visit

Open Auditions for the Junior Ensemble for Southport's Beauty and the Beast

On Saturday 15 September local youngsters are being invited to take part in open auditions for Southport Theatre's Beauty and the Beast. The auditions are open to children aged 9-16* who would like to be part of the Junior Chorus. *Please see the venue page on our website for more information. -

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Kirkcaldy Beauty and the Beast Junior Chorus Auditions This Friday

On Friday 24 August we will be holding open auditions for children aged 9-16* for the Junior Chorus of Beauty and the Beast at The Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy. *Please visit the venue's page on our website for more information -

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Casting Announcement for Southport Beauty and the Beast

Imagine Theatre along with Southport Theatre, following its takeover by Bliss Hotels, are delighted to announce that panto will be back this year with the magical tale of Beauty and the Beast.

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The show will star and also be directed by Sam Kane. Sam, who previously appeared in Brookside and Emmerdale, played Buttons in last year’s highly acclaimed Cinderella. This year he is taking on the role of Eugene in one of the most popular fairy tales of them all. He will be joined by Jason Marc-Williams as Dame and Alistair Barron as comic.

Beauty and the Beast is a story that has got everything. It's the perfect family show. It's got an ingredient in it that I adore in a pantomime.... heart. The jeopardy of the rose petals falling and having to fall in love before the final petal falls creates a brilliant tension that keeps everyone gripping their seat.  Mix all of that with fabulous comedy, traditional panto routines and great songs and you've got yourself a perfect trip to the theatre at Christmas time.”

Sam adds “The character of Eugene in the panto has a lot of similarities to Gaston in the Disney version. The weird thing is this has ticked a massive box for me. I was actually offered the role of Gaston, in the Disney musical version of Beauty and the Beast at the Dominion Theatre in the West End. I didn't take the role for a host of reasons and I've regretted those decisions ever since. Now 20 years later I'll finally get to play one of the best roles in theatre. I get to be vile and awful and get laughs for it and I can't wait! Southport Theatre is a great place to spend the festive season. The audiences were amazing also the staff and back stage crew at the venue were an absolute delight and I can't remember a single day from last panto season that wasn't a happy one.”

Jason is delighted to be returning to Southport. “I love being in Southport at Christmas and I really enjoyed working with Sam last year so I am excited to be working with him once more, as well teaming up with Alistair again as he is a really close friend and we always have a great time working together.”

Beauty and the Beast runs from Friday 14 - Sunday 30 December 2018.

Hayley Tamaddon to Star in Aladdin in Newark

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The most mystical panto of all, ALADDIN, flies into the Palace Theatre, Newark this Christmas with magic carpets, genies and all!

Starring soap star Hayley Tamaddon as the Princess as well as an amazing supporting cast. Hayley is best known for playing Del Dingle in Emmerdale and Andrea Beckett in Coronation Street as well as winning Series 5 of ITV’s Dancing On Ice. Hayley has also had an extensive musical theatre career, having played lead roles in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Chicago, Grease, A Chorus Line, Boogie Nights, Mamma Mia, Fame, The Rocky Horror Show and Spamalot. Hayley is delighted to be returning to the stage for pantomime:-

“I absolutely love appearing in pantomime, it is such a special time of year. It’s one of the few chances for the whole family to come along to the theatre and enjoy themselves together. I can’t wait to appear in this production of Aladdin, it’s one of my favourites and I also hear Newark is great for Christmas shopping!”

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Joining Hayley is Newark panto favourite Tim Freeman who Palace Theatre audiences will remember from last year’s Beauty & The Beast as Dame Dorothy Do-it, this time he will be donning fabulous frocks as Aladdin’s mother Widow Twankey.

Producer of the pantomime, Imagine Theatre’s Managing Director Steve Boden says: “We are delighted to be returning to the Palace Theatre with another fantastic family pantomime. Aladdin is one of the best as it’s full of adventure and fun. We are also thrilled to be working with Hayley Tamaddon who is not just a TV personality but an amazing stage performer, and also to be welcoming Tim Freeman back. It’s going to be a great show and we hope to build on the success of last year’s Beauty & The Beast”.

This year’s pantomime will feature all of the magic ingredients you’ve come to expect with big song and dance numbers, lots of slapstick comedy, romance and bags of audience participation, oh yes it will! Aladdin is one of the most popular panto titles of all and tells the rags to riches story of a poor son of a laundress who has big dreams. When he falls in love with the Princess he wants to do everything he can to win her heart. Will Abanazar thwart the course of true love or will Aladdin succeed with a little help from the Genie of the Lamp? Bring the whole family along to the Palace Theatre, Newark this Christmas to find out.

Aladdin runs from Friday 7th December to Monday 31st December 2018.

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.”



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.

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.

Soap Star Jonathan Wrather to Star in The Palace Theatre Newark’s Beauty and the Beast This Christmas

The Palace Theatre are delighted to announce that soap superstar Jonathan Wrather will be spending the festive season in Newark as the odious Eugene in the brand new comedy panto Beauty and the Beast this Christmas.

Jonathan is a familiar face to soap fans all over the UK as he is currently playing the controversial character of Pierce Harris in Emmerdale.

Jonathan also played bad boy Joe Carter in Coronation Street from 2002 until 2003 as well as having roles in Fat Friends, Clocking Off, Holby City, Casualty, Silent Witness and the US hit series Bones amongst others.

A RADA trained actor, Jonathan has spent much of his career on stage including playing the iconic character of Harry in the UK tour of When Harry Met Sally, as well as starring in productions such as Edward II, The Duchess of Malfi, Romeo and Juliet, Othello and The Grapes of Wrath. This will be Jonathan’s second appearance in pantomime having previously appeared in the Victoria Theatre Halifax’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk way back in 2003.

Jonathan says "Doing panto is always enormous fun. Playing the baddie in one is great fun too as you get such strong reactions from the audience. Beauty and the Beast is a terrific story and I can’t wait for rehearsals to start this autumn.”

Steve Boden, Managing Director of Imagine Theatre who produce the pantomime says, “We are delighted to be working with Jonathan for the first time this year and thrilled to have him on stage with us at Newark. He is a hugely talented and experienced actor and, as per his character in Emmerdale, portrays a great baddie! Our panto character Eugene is similar to that of Gaston in the Disney version – his vanity makes it impossible for him to believe that Beauty does not love him and so he plots to kill the Beast. He really is a true panto villain!

This is our third year producing panto at the beautiful Palace Theatre in Newark with word spreading around the region about the quality and sales going from strength to strength. We are confident that Beauty and the Beast is going to continue the tradition of top quality panto at the Palace and will be another fabulous show.”

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