Beginning this month, a host of stars from the world of entertainment will light up the stages in twenty four towns and cities around the UK for this year’s Qdos Entertainment pantomime season. From Aberdeen to Plymouth, over 60 well-known actors, comedians and entertainers will lead the casts of the nation’s favourite pantomimes in theatres across the country including, for the first time in nearly three decades, a return to the capital’s London Palladium.
Nick Thomas, Chairman of the Qdos Entertainment Group, said: “We are delighted to once again present another unmissable pantomime season that sweeps the length and breadth of the UK. We are extremely proud of our past pantomime seasons and we have every expectation that this year will see this unique British tradition continue, at the top of its game. We look forward to welcoming audiences throughout the UK to our pantomimes and offering them the best possible family entertainment at this special time of the year.” Thomas continues: “My colleagues, casts and the theatres where we stage pantomimes are thrilled to continue our support of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity and we are keen to reach the million pounds milestone in our fund-raising on behalf of the world-famous hospital.”
· In the capital, Cinderella will play at the London Palladium, the first pantomime to be staged in the historic venue in nearly three decades. The all-star cast includes Paul O’Grady (The Wicked Stepmother), Julian Clary (Dandini), Amanda Holden (The Fairy Godmother), Lee Mead (Prince Charming), Nigel Havers (Lord Chamberlin), Paul Zerdin (Buttons), Count Arthur Strong (Baron Hardup) and Natasha J Barnes (Cinderella).
· In Aberdeen, Elaine C Smith returns to star as The Spirit of the Don in Dick McWhittington, alongside Alan McHugh (Dame Tilly McDrone) and Jordan Young (Ba’ Heid Boabby).
· In Belfast, May McFettridge (The Fairy Godmother) will join Gareth Gates (Prince Charming) in Cinderella.
· Birmingham will stage the classic Dick Whittington with a cast including John Barrowman (Dick Whittington), Steve McFadden (King Rat), The Krankies (Councillor & Jimmy Krankie) Matt Slack (Idle Jack) and Jodie Prenger (Fairy Bow Bells).
· In Bradford, Billy Pearce (Smee) teams up with Darren Day (Captain Hook), Charlie Hardwick (The Magical Mermaid) and Jon Lee in the title role in Peter Pan.
· In Bromley, Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood stars as Captain Hook in Peter Pan and is joined by Paul Burling (Smee) and Dawson Chance & ‘Willy’ (Starkey).
· Cardiff’s Peter Pan will see David Hasslehoff (Captain Hook) star alongside Mike Doyle (Mrs Smee).
· Crewe’s Aladdin sees Canon and Ball (PC Tommy and PC Bobby) join CBeebies’ Sid Sloane (Wishee Washee).
· In Dartford, Joe Pasquale (Muddles) stars alongside Ceri Dupree (Dame Dolly Diamond) and Rachel Stanley (The Wicked Queen) in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
· In Edinburgh, Allan Stewart (Dame Trot), Andy Gray (Farmer Hector) and Grant Stott (Fleshcreep) reunite in Jack and the Beanstalk.
· In Glasgow, Marti Pellow stars in Aladdin as Abanazar.
· Hastings welcomes Union J’s Jaymi Hensley to play the title role as Peter Pan.
· In Hayes, Pauline Quirke (The Fairy Godmother) performs alongside her son Charlie Quirke (Dandini) in Cinderella.
· In High Wycombe’s production of Cinderella, Linda Robson will star as The Fairy Godmother alongside Louie Spence (Dandini) and Bobby Davro (Buttons).
· In Llandudno, Gareth Thomas (Genie of the Lamp), John Evans (Wishee Washee) and Andy Jones (Widow Twankey) will star in Aladdin.
· Newcastle welcomes back the record-breaking team of Danny Adams (Buttons), Clive Webb (Baron Hardup) and Chris Hayward (The Fairy Godmother) to star in Cinderella.
· In Northampton, Blue’s Simon Webbe (Jack) stars alongside Britain’s Got Talent winners Ashleigh and Pudsey (Princess Apricot) in Jack and the Beanstalk.
· In Nottingham, The Chuckle Brothers (Paul and Barry Trot) are joined by Benidorm’s Tony Maudsley (Dame Trot) and X Factor’s Chico (Jack Trot) in Jack and the Beanstalk.
· In Plymouth, Lesley Joseph (The Wicked Queen) and Blue’s Duncan James (The Prince) star in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
· Southampton welcomes TV’s favourite soap opera couple Shane Richie (Robin Hood) and Jessie Wallace (Maid Marion) to star in Robin Hood.
· In Southend, Brian Conley (Robinson Crusoe) stars as the title role in Robinson Crusoe alongside Gok Wan (Spirit of the Ocean).
· In Swansea’s Sleeping Beauty, Britain’s Got Talent Winner 2016 Lance Corporal Richard Jones (Merlin) leads a cast including Brendan Sheerin (The King), Kevin Johns (The Queen), Niki Evans (Enchantress) and Matt Edwards (Muddles).
· In Swindon, Ryan Thomas takes on the role of Prince Charming in Cinderella.
· In Wolverhampton, X Factor winner Joe McElderry (Aladdin) stars alongside Lisa Riley (Slave of the Ring), Ian Adams (Widow Twankey), Doreen (The Lazy Empress) and CBeebies’ Mr Bloom Ben Faulks (The Policeman) in Aladdin.
As the world’s biggest pantomime producer, over the past 34 years Qdos Entertainment has established itself as one of the largest entertainment companies in Europe. Over the past three decades the pantomime giant has staged 649 pantomimes and this season expects over 1.6 million people will see one of its shows. Aside from the company’s credentials in pantomime, Qdos Entertainment, through its venues division HQ Theatres & Hospitality, is the UK’s second largest regional theatre and concert hall operator, and employs 1,500 full time staff.
Qdos Entertainment has been fund-raising for Great Ormond Street Hospital’s Theatres for Theatres Appeal since 2010. Thanks to the generosity of theatre-goers, as well as fund-raising by Qdos Entertainment staff, over £855,000 has been raised to date. This pantomime season, Qdos Entertainment aims to Make It A Million. The monies raised will go towards helping to fund a new suite of operating theatres due to open in 2017.
A number of Relaxed Performances are being held across the UK. Please contact individual venues to see if one is being held in a theatre near you.
Full season details and further information on Qdos Entertainment available at pantomime.com