December 3, 2021 7.00 pm

Jake Quickenden: Coming weeks will “make or break” smaller venues

He is starring in a Christmas panto in Lincoln

Scunthorpe-born television heart-throb Jake Quickenden believes the next few weeks could be “make or break” for many smaller venues due to the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the industry.

Panto was unable to go ahead in 2020 due to the pandemic, so it will be a welcome return when The Beauty & The Beast takes centre stage at the New Theatre Royal Lincoln between December 7, 2021 and January, 9, 2022.

Jake plays the part of baddie Flash Hugo and he joins the largest ever cast for Lincoln’s longest running traditional pantomime. Zoe Hanna May from ITV’s The Voice will play the lead role of Belle.

Jake told BBC Look North: “Everything means a lot to them, every show they need to sell so they can keep it open. Just look around, it’s beautiful, you just would not want it to shut down and anything happen to it so it is make or break.”

He added: “I’ve done alright for myself, I’ve come through it and I perform now which I’m so grateful for, but if I hadn’t taken that step into the arts I don’t know what I would be doing, I’d probably still be working at the steelworks as a brickie like I was before.

“We’ve got to think about the younger generation they’re the ones that need levelling up because there the ones that are going to be growing up in Scunthorpe and hopefully having these opportunities.”

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, said: “We just navigate it the best we can, even now all we can do is follow government guidelines and just hope that throughout the pantomime run things keep going in the right direction and not backwards, because that would be detrimental for us definitely.”

In upcoming Beauty & The Beast panto, CBBC’s ‘Yonko’ Chris Johnson will play Belle’s father Professor Ivar Brainstorm, while 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.

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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