September 28, 2021 10.18 am

A tale as old as time: New Theatre Royal panto launched, starring Jake Quickenden

Is panto back? Oh yes it is!

Lincolnshire television heartthrob and Disney superfan Jake Quickenden is excited to get the show on the road after meeting all his fellow cast members for the first time ahead of this winter’s Christmas pantomime at the New Theatre Royal Lincoln – Beauty & the Beast.

Panto was unable to go ahead in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, so it will be a welcome return when The Beauty & the Beast takes centre stage between December 7, 2021 and January 9, 2022. Tickets are on sale priced at £25.50 for adults and £22.50 for anyone under 18 or over 65 – book tickets online here.

Scunthorpe-born Jake Quickenden, who will star as baddie Flash Hugo, most recently featured in Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins, until he had to withdraw on medical grounds due to a shoulder injury, suffered in a gruelling water test.

The cast of this year’s Christmas panto at New Theatre Royal Lincoln – Beauty & the Beast. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Jake, who has done panto across the country every year for around six years, told The Lincolnite: “I’ve always been a fan of Lincoln, it’s a beautiful little place and I feel at home around here.

“I’m very privileged that I was able to do something in SAS and it was a brilliant show. It’s one end of the spectrum to the other now, I’m doing panto.

“I really enjoy doing panto. It’s been out of action for a few years so it’s lovely to be back and we’ll have a good crowd in and hopefully we’re going to put on a really good show, a fun show for all the family.

“Today (Monday) is the first day I’ve met the whole cast. It’s been absolutely brilliant and everyone is lovely and super talented. I can’t wait to get into rehearsals and get the show going. I’m a huge Disney fan and Beauty & the Beast is wicked, this will be one not to miss.”

Scunthorpe-born Jake Quickenden plays the part of baddie Flash Hugo. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The full cast gathered for the press launch of the Christmas panto – Beauty & the Beast. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Joining Jake in the largest ever cast for Lincoln’s longest running traditional pantomime is Zoe Hanna May from ITV’s The Voice, who will play the lead role of Belle.

She said: “I’m feeling very excited. It’s amazing to finally all be together as a cast and meet the people I haven’t met before, it all feels very real.

“I don’t think I know anyone who’s not seen Beauty & the Beast, the original Disney movie, and I absolutely love it, love the songs and Belle as a character, so I feel very lucky to be playing her. I think it’s going to be a really strong cast that are a really close-knit family too.

Hanna Zoe May will play the lead role of Belle. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

She added: “I love the Christmas Market in Lincoln and all the Bailey’s hot chocolate, and at the cathedral, and up at the top it’s so pretty and quaint, I love it.”

James de Lauch Hay will play the part of the Beast/Prince Roberto said: “I’m feeling so excited, everyone is so lovely and welcoming. Everyone’s so excited to be back in the theatre again.

“There’s nothing more wonderful or spectacular or magical as a pantomime, which I think we all need. We all need a feel good show to celebrate a hard year and for everyone to get out and enjoy themselves. I’m really excited to be here for Christmas.”

A panto cast full of talent. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

CBBC’s ‘Yonko’ Chris Johnson will play Belle’s father Professor Ivar Brainstorm. This will be Chris’ seventh successive pantomime at the New Theatre Royal Lincoln.

He said: “Lincoln has become essentially my Christmas home. One of the oddest sensations from last year was not coming here at any point, that was very strange, I’ve been here that much and it’s such a part of my December, so I’m going to make up for last time.

“Theatre as a whole, it is wonderful to see that it is surviving and finding a way to get back out there to people. Panto is so important, it is the gateway for a lot of kids into theatre and live performance. The fact that panto is back and bringing the spirit of Christmas…nothing beats it!”

CBBC’s ‘Yonko’ Chris Johnson will play Belle’s father Professor Ivar Brainstorm

Britain’s Got Talent finalist Christian Lee will play Marcel Allumette, the quirky candelabra.

Strengthening the cast further are Lincoln’s own Chris Hayes, Paul Aitchison, and Georgia Hayes-Cowley, who will star as Humphrey Battenburg, Mary Muffintop and Mindy Singit respectively.

Get ready to enter the New Theatre Royal Lincoln for this year’s Christmas panto – Beauty & the Beast. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Natalie Hayes-Cowley (left), the theatre’s Artistic Director and the show’s producer with three leading cast members – James de Lauch Hay, Jake Quickenden and Zoe Hanna May. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Natalie Hayes-Cowley, the theatre’s Artistic Director and the show’s producer. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Camilia O’Grady, Vanessa Dumatey and Laura Wenton will be making their New Theatre Royal Lincoln debuts starring as Serenity Rose/Gigi Vavaoo, Cindy Singit and Lindy Singit respectively. The role of Carrie Cupcake will be shared by Ruby Grayson and Kyla Hurdley.

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