X-Factor Star Andy Abraham to Appear in Rotherham Civic Theatre Panto

Rotherham Civic Theatre are delighted to announce X-Factor star Andy Abraham will be starring in their spectacular family pantomime Sleeping Beauty this Christmas.

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Andy was dubbed ‘the voice of the people’ when he appeared on the show in 2005, coming runner up. He has since gone on to record four studio albums, one of which reached number two in the charts, performed in numerous UK tours as well as being the UK’s entry in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest.

He is also no stranger to theatre having appeared in the UK tour of Boogie Nights and the West End hit Respect La Diva, as well as countless pantomimes all over the country. Prior to panto season Andy will be touring the UK in The Nat King Cole Songbook.

Sleeping Beauty marks the second year that Imagine Theatre will be producing panto in Rotherham and Steve Boden, Managing Director of Imagine Theatre, says “We are delighted to be returning to Rotherham for this year’s festive season. Last year’s production of Dick Whittington was a great success and we got some wonderful feedback from audience members. We are really pleased to be working with Andy Abraham for the first time this year, and his fabulous vocal talent means we are all particularly excited about the musical numbers for the show.”

Steve says “Sleeping Beauty is one of the UK’s most loved pantomimes. As many people may know, it tells the story of a Princess who is cursed by the wicked fairy Carabosse so that upon her eighteenth birthday she will prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into an enchanted sleep. Of course for our version we have added all the traditional elements of pantomime with a larger than life dame and a hilarious comic, lots of fun slapstick routines and elaborate musical numbers. It is definitely going to be another great show this year.”

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Cleaner, Greener Communities, Cllr Sarah Allen added: “The Civic Theatre panto is always something to look forward to and this year will be no exception. I know I certainly enjoyed it! I am delighted to hear that Andy will be joining the cast for this year’s production of Sleeping Beauty.”

Sleeping Beauty runs from Friday 29 November 2019 until Sunday 5 January 2020.

To book tickets call the box office on 01709 823621 or visit www.rotherhamtheatres.co.uk

Excellent Review for Greenock's Sleeping Beauty

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“This was my third year attending the Beacon Arts Centre panto and its one that I always recommend….For me, what makes the Beacon panto so wonderful is that it doesn't need to rely on special effects to create magic. The beautiful sets are a million times better than any fancy 3D screens and the costumes are spectacular. This is a traditional panto with a fresh script and terrific cast that will make you feel full of festive joy!”

Read the full review here.

Porthcawl Sleeping Beauty Junior Ensemble Auditions

If you are aged 9-16* and would like to be part of Sleeping Beauty at the Grand Pavilion Porthcawl this Christmas then come along and join us for our Junior Chorus auditions on Wednesday 12 September. Please see the venue page on our website for more information*. -  http://www.imaginetheatre.co.uk/pantomimes/2018-sleeping-beauty-porthcawl

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Panto Fever Hotting Up At The Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl

Despite the glorious weather The Grand Pavilion’s sights are firmly set on panto and they are delighted to be able to announce casting for the spectacular Sleeping Beauty.

Vern Griffiths will play Dame Dolly Dumpling with Kyle Tovey as the hilarious Happy Harri, comedian Cerys Nelmes as Fairy Marina, Laura Mansell as the wicked Carabosse, Aled Herbert as King Frogmore, Trixie Waggott as Princess Rose and Jack Malin as Prince.

Ebbw Vale’s Kyle Tovey is delighted to be appearing at the Grand Pavilion, having fond childhood memories of Porthcawl where his family had a holiday home. His last appearance at the venue was hosting the BBC Wales Made in Wales Ceremony in 2011 and he cannot wait to get back on the stage this Christmas.

“Panto is my favourite time of the year, it is often a family’s first introduction to theatre and an absolute scream to be part of. No show is the same and the joy of the audience during participation is incomparable to any other theatre experience. Being able to take the audience on a magical journey whilst having heaps of fun along the way is priceless.” 

“My favourite part of playing the comic is that you get to form a bond with the audience from the outset. You end up feeling their constant support and feel that they are always on side. Being able to interact as the comic is the best part as you never know what’s going to happen. Panto is so unpredictable but yet continues to tell a timeless story - what’s not to love?”

Vern Griffiths last donned a frock as Dame at the Grand Pavilion back in 2012 and he is thrilled to be returning to the venue in which he watched pantomime as a child.

“The Grand Pavilion is a beautiful venue and has a special place in my heart as it is where I discovered my love of panto many years ago. Dame is a brilliant role as I get to have so much interaction with the audience, I particularly love embarrassing the dads in the audience.”

Cerys Nelmes is a familiar face on the comedy circuit and has also appeared in Trollied on Sky 1 as well as popping up on Casualty, Stella, Back, The Coroner, Thirteen, Ill Behavior, Galavant and The Rack Pack.

Steve Boden from Imagine Theatre who produce the pantomime says “We are delighted to have Cerys on board for pantomime. Having a performer whose speciality is stand up comedy is going to bring something different to the role of fairy this year which is very exciting. We have a fabulous cast lined up and script written by the brilliant Chris Jarvis so we are confident that we will put on another brilliant show this year.

Sleeping Beauty runs from Friday 14 December 2018 until Sunday 6 January 2018.

For more information or to book tickets contact the Grand Pavilion box office on 01656 815995 or visit www.grandpavilion.co.uk

Junior Chorus Auditions at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock

Don't forget that this Friday, 24th August, we are holding open auditions at the Beacon Arts Centre in Greenock for children aged 9-16* who would like to part of Sleeping Beauty this Christmas. *Please visit the website for more information. - http://www.imaginetheatre.co.uk/pantomimes/2018127-sleeping-beauty-greenock-2018

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Popular Panto Stars Return to Beacon Arts Centre

The fabulous Sleeping Beauty brings the family pantomime magic back to Beacon Arts Centre this year…and she’s bringing a few familiar faces along with her!

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Jane McCarry will be wicked once more as the evil Carabosse with Mark Cox as Cludgie the Henchman. Jimmy Chisholm also returns with Lee Samuel as they revive their popular pairing as Dame and Comic.

Still Game favourites Jane and Mark, best known as Isa Drennan and Tam Mullen in the hugely popular sit-com (which has just celebrated its eighth series on UK screens) have become a key ingredient of the increasing success of the Beacon pantomime over the last few years.

While Greenock audiences love to see the pair perform, it turns out that the feeling is mutual as both Jane & Mark love performing panto in Greenock. Mark says “The audience at the Beacon is the warmest I have ever played in front of, they are just amazing.”

This year, Mark will once again be playing sidekick to Jane’s evil character Carabosse. “Jane and I go way back. From drama college to hit television show and we just love working together because we know each other so well as friends and as actors. Never a dull moment!”

Lee Samuel is also full of praise for his on-stage comedy partner Jimmy Chisholm. “We have such a laugh working together and over the years we have developed a great chemistry on and off the stage. Jimmy is a force of energy and fun. He is a very generous and professional actor and is happy to share the comedy with me and the other cast members.”

“I love panto but my favourite bit is always the song sheet. There is nothing better than seeing the whole audience up dancing and singing along at the top of their voices with age groups ranging from toddlers to great grandparents and before you know it even the most reluctant member of the family is joining in! It’s great to see the whole family having fun and getting into the Christmas spirit as that is what panto is all about!”

Joining the cast this year are Martine McMenemy as Queen Matilda and Nikki Horsburgh as Princess Beauty.

Steve Boden, managing director of Imagine Theatre who produce the show says “We are delighted with the increasing popularity of the Beacon Arts Centre panto over the last few years. The reviews last year were amazing and I am confident we will put on another fabulous show this year.”

Sleeping Beauty runs from Friday 7 until Monday 31 December 2018.

For more information or to book tickets to the show call the box office on 01475 723723 or visit www.beaconartscentre.co.uk

Beauty of a Cast for the Kilmarnock Panto

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The Palace Theatre in Kilmarnock are delighted to announce that River City star Leah MacRae will be starring alongside Palace panto favourites Fraser Boyle and Gary Morrison in their magical family pantomime Sleeping Beauty.

Leah MacRae is best known for playing Ellie McLean in River City, a role she had played since 2014. She has also starred in Gary Tank Commander and Rab C Nesbitt as well as appearing in numerous pantomimes. Before panto begins she will be starring in a yet to be announced show at The Palace Theatre as well as filming River City.

Leah says “Pantomime is so special as it's the first time most children step into a theatre. It creates lasting memories. It was whilst watching pantomime for the first time ever that I realised I wanted to become an actress and I often think to myself that panto is an important job because there might be a little version of me sitting there having that realisation for the first time too.” 

Fraser and Gary have appeared as Dame and Comic for the past two years to great acclaim and have an excellent rapport both on stage and off.

Fraser says “Gary is brilliant. He's so easy going and always joking with me backstage, and on stage he's a pleasure to work with as well. He's very good at his job and I trust him completely which is a pure joy when doing pantomime together. We tune into one another too - at points during Dick Whittington, we both said the exact same unrehearsed punchlines, at exactly the same time with exactly the same physical actions.”

Gary is equally complimentary about Fraser “Working with Fraser is just fantastic, we clicked straight away and were on the same wave length from the start. Our comedy works really well together, to have that bond is so important between the comic and the dame as it makes for a great fun show.”

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“I just love panto and have some wonderful memories from the last few years. My favourite moment would have to be doing the song sheet in Dick Whittington last year, the whole audience were up dancing and singing along with age groups ranging from toddlers to grandparents and they were all just having a fantastic time, that to me is what panto is all about.”

A big part of playing dame is the number of changes throughout the show in to increasingly elaborate costumes. Fraser’s favourite costume from the last few years was in Beauty and the Beast. “For the finale my costume was a Christmas tree. And it wasn't easy! I had around 40 seconds to get out of one costumes and put an entire Christmas tree on! It was always a frantic dash but it looked amazing. I had baubles, tinsel - even a star on the top - then we'd do a final dance. It was the most cumbersome, impractical costume to dance in but people couldn't stop laughing. I looked like a lunatic! It was so well made and a proper pantomime spectacle. I cannot wait to see what I get to wear this year.”

Before panto season arrives Fraser is busy writing for The Dolls for their second full length tour and hoping to film a full length comedy sketch show with Gary, along with other writing and teaching projects. Gary will soon be appearing in Pinocchio at Motherwell Theatre in the roles of Geppetto and Freddy Fox.

Don’t miss out on the magical Sleeping Beauty. The show runs from Saturday 24 November to Sunday 30 December 2018.

To book tickets to please contact The Palace Theatre box office on 01563 554900 or visit www.enjoyeastayrshire.com

A 'Beauty' of a Pantomime Cast for the Spa Centre

The Royal Spa Centre are delighted to announce that they are fully cast for this year’s production of Sleeping Beauty.

Joining Spa Centre favourites JP McCue and Sean Dodds are Sally Peerless as the good fairy Gabriella, Denise Pitter as the wicked fairy Carabosse, Chloe Fay as Princess Rosa, Glyn Dilley as the King, James Leeman as Prince Victor and Teddy Moynihan as Carabosse’s side kick, Fran.

Sally Peerless is currently appearing in the UK tour of Sister Act the Musical, having spent much of the last few years in Saturday Night Fever both in the UK and Germany.

Denise also has a strong musical theatre background having appeared in Guys and Dolls in the West End alongside Patrick Swayze as well as the UK tours of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story and Dancing in the Streets amongst many others.

James has appeared in a number of pantomimes for producer’s Imagine Theatre and is delighted to be spending his first festive season in Leamington. “People I know who have previously having worked at the Spa Centre speak very highly of the team on the panto so that's also quite exciting. Leamington Spa is a beautiful place so I'm looking forward to spending my Christmas there.” 

James has played the Prince in Snow White for the last two years in both Grimsby and Southport and says “I've had great fun playing the Prince in Snow White so I'm excited to spend this season saving another ‘sleeping Princess’ but this time it being Sleeping Beauty.”

The title role of the ‘sleeping beauty’, Princess Rosa, is being played by Chloe Fay in her third professional pantomime. “When I was younger I was in the Junior Ensemble for four pantomimes and I still love appearing in them now. My favourite thing about it is that every performance is different. Nothing is taken too seriously and the audience participation being different every time makes it really fun!”

“I am looking forward to playing a princess as it is every girl’s dream to be a princess and getting to wear such beautiful gowns every day, and always having perfect and pristine hair... Oh and obviously being able to sing all the time without anyone looking at you in a weird way!”

Glyn Dilley is a hugely experienced performer and has appeared in 22 pantomimes clocking up an impressive 1400 performances since making his professional panto debut in The Palace Theatre in Morecambe, his home town. His performances this year have a very royal feel to them - as well as playing the King in Sleeping Beauty he is touring the UK as King Arthur for Story Pocket Theatre.

“I love panto as it gives so much pleasure to so many people every year. It is also great fun to do. One of my favourite panto memories is being on stage at the Liverpool Empire when a small child told the Queen to go away using a very rude word! It brought the house down and everything to a standstill!”

Teddy Moynihan was part of the RSC’s Shakespeare Live performance to mark 400 years since the Bard’s death when he performed as Chino / Ensemble in the West Side Story routine. He has also played Dandini in Cinderella and is looking forward to getting in touch with his dark side this season.

“I think it will be great fun to play a baddie and I look forward to seeing how loud we can get the kids booing!”

Janice Dunn who has directed the pantomime for the last few years says “I am delighted to have such a fabulous cast. Directing at the Spa Centre is always great fun and I promise we are going to put on another spectacular show this year.”

Sleeping Beauty opens on Saturday 2 December 2017. The show runs until Sunday 31 December 2017 and for more information or to book tickets please call 01926 334 418 or visit www.royalspacentreandtownhall.co.uk