Theatre Royal’s Christmas pantomime returns

Following last year’s record breaking success with its production of Aladdin, the Lincoln Theatre Royal already looks set to have another fantastic pantomime season.

Cinderella takes to the stage on December 7 and due to soaring ticket sales they will be holding open the curtains for an additional week, taking their last bows on January 15.

Director Ian Dickens says that he wants to create a brand with his pantomimes, where each year you know exactly what you’re going to get and it will be fantastic.

The Lincolnite spoke to the cast to find out what makes our pantomime such a sell-out show.

Michelle Hardwick, who plays Cinderella said: “I’m very excited about playing Cinderella. I absolutely love Lincoln, I was here last year playing the princess in Aladdin and I couldn’t wait to come back.”

Best known for her role as Lizzie Hopkirk in the ITV 1 hospital drama, The Royal, Hardwick describes the excitement of playing the pantomime.

“The thing I love most about doing this is the interaction you get from the audience. The first day on stage when I hear the kids screaming it gives me a real Christmassy feeling.

“I must admit I have done a lot of pantomimes where I work with kids, often they can run a-muck but the children in Lincoln are the most well behaved children I have worked with in my career.

“They are absolutely fantastic, very professional, and another reason I love coming back to Lincoln.”

Nicola Weeks, who plays Prince Charming, explains that this is her ninth year of doing pantomime and has found a winning combination at Lincoln.

“The thing I love especially about doing panto at Lincoln is that it is kept traditional with, like I am, the girl playing the principle boy, whereas a lot of other pantomimes have that part played by a boy, which is silly because the crossing of the genders is a part of what adds to the comedy and the charm of the Pantomime.”

Local actor

This year the Lincoln is also proud to add some local talent to its line-up. Craig Hollingsworth, who plays Buttons, was born and bred here and studied performing arts at Lincoln College.

“It is fantastic to be back. Playing panto in your home town is like playing for you home football team.

“I remember coming here as a child thinking, I would love to be doing that. So when the opportunity to come to Lincoln to do the panto came up, it was too good to miss.”

Hollingsworth also admitted to being excited to work with the show’s legendary comedy duo.

“As a kid my granddad was a big fan of Cannon and Ball, we used to watch them on the video and on the Royal Variety show, so to be playing against them is amazing.”

For tickets or more information call the Theatre Royal Box Office on 01522 519999.

Photo: Chris Vaughan Photography