Panto is back – oh yes it is!

Panto is back! We were thrilled to welcome some of the cast of this year’s enchanting pantomime Beauty & the Beast to The Cresset this week for our press launch.

Headlining this year’s cast is Grant Urquhart as cheeky chap Silly Billy. Grant is probably best known for his regular appearances as one of the featured waiters on the popular Channel 4 television shows First Dates and First Dates Hotel. We’re delighted to be welcoming him to The Cresset!

In the role of the Good Fairy is Kim Taylforth, who has an extensive list of television and stage credits including London’s Burning, Bad Girls, Brookside and Family Affairs. Kim has also been starring in pantomime for many years – including her first ever panto season 15 years ago, right here at The Cresset!

Joining them will be the hugely talented Andrew Crawford as one half of the titular duo, The Beast! Andrew starred in Cbeebies’ The Rhyme Rocket alongside his TV counterpart Joseph Chambers from 2012 to 2016, and has since being touring the world with their performance-based interactive learning company Laugh’n’Learn and running The Ridiculous Rhyme Show YouTube channel.

Tony Howes joins the cast this year as our wonderful Dame, Nurse Jackie O’ LaLa. Tony’s TV credits include Emmerdale, Doctors, Midsomer Murders and Casualty – but he’s no stranger to the stage, regularly touring his one-man version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Returning to The Cresset stage this Christmas in the role of Beauty herself is Victoria Jane! Victoria is an actress, band member, children’s presenter, puppeteer, skin artist and voice-over artist probably best known for her role as Noo-Noo the Hoover in The Teletubbies 2015 remake. Cresset audiences may also recognise her as Wendy from Peter Pan (2016) and the titular role in Snow White (2017) – welcome back Vicky!

Last but not least is another familiar face we’re delighted to be welcoming back to The Cresset stage – Vanessa Boland! Vanessa has made multiple appearances on both stage and screen – her theatre credits include Guys and Dolls and Be Back Soon, while her TV appearances include The Apprentice and Lee Nelson’s Well Funny People. Vanessa also enchanted us all last year as Fairy Liquid in Jack and The Beanstalk – we can’t wait for her to bring some more magic to the stage as Carabosse!

Writer and Director Stuart Morrison has been producing and directing Cresset Pantomimes both alone and with Premier Pantomimes since 2008 and is thrilled to be bringing this magical tale back to the stage.

Stuart said “We were so grateful to be able to put on any kind of show in 2020, and while we only managed a week of live performance, we were incredibly proud of Jack & the Socially Distanced Beanstalk. I know though that there were so many people who couldn’t get here last year, and some who’ve had their tickets booked since 2019 so I’m so looking forward to getting back to a full scale live show. I’m putting everything into it – all the stuff people have been missing so expect loads of songs, slapstick and silliness!”

After spending the morning at The Cresset for photos and videos then meeting the press over lunch, we took a trip to Peterborough United to sign up our final cast member – Peter Burrow!

We simply can’t wait to bring the magic of pantomime back to the stage this Christmas. We hope you can join us!

Beauty & The Beast runs at the Cresset Theatre from 11th to 30th December.

Tickets are priced from just £15.50 with fantastic group offers available

Read more about the show and book here

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