The annual festive pantomime at Lincoln’s New Theatre Royal is almost here, as Kerry Katona, Jake Quickenden prepare to bring some modern glitz and glamour to the classic tale of Cinderella this Christmas.
The traditional Christmas pantomime takes place at the New Theatre Royal every year, with record crowds attending 2021’s production of Beauty and the Beast – and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever for the 128-year-old venue.
The production this time around is Cinderella, played by Georgia Hayes-Cowley, with some celebrity backup in the cast, in the form of TV personalities Jake Quickenden and Kerry Katona. It will run from Tuesday, December 6 until Sunday, January 8.
Tickets are available from the New Theatre Royal website, with family offers and a payment plan available to help people spread the cost of tickets in the midst of the rising cost of living. Adult tickets are priced at £26.00.
Scunthorpe-born Jake was triumphant in his role as Flash Hugo in Beauty and the Beast last year, and he will be taking on a slightly different character this time around, as he prepares to step into the shoes of Fairy Godfather.
Jake, a former Dancing on Ice winner, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! runner up and Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins contestant, said he enjoyed last year’s production so much that he had to come back for 2022.
He told The Lincolnite: “It’s just so exciting. Obviously I did last year and that’s the reason why I’m back, I just loved it so much. The crowds, cast and crew were so great, it’s such a family environment and when the opportunity came for me to return, I grabbed it.”
It is a role he will share with Strictly Come Dancing legend Ian Waite, with Jake on stage for the first leg of the production until Christmas Eve, and Ian taking over from Boxing Day through to the final date.
Ian Waite said it was going to be “a bit daunting” coming in halfway through the production to replace Jake, but can’t wait to get going inside the “beautiful” New Theatre Royal.
“Everybody will know what they’re doing and I’ll be absolutely terrified”, he said. “But yeah I’m looking forward to coming back, it’s such a beautiful theatre and I love the city, so it’ll be nice to spend some time here.”
The Lincolnite previously spoke to Kerry Katona, who will be making her grand return to the New Theatre Royal stage this year after a six-year absence. We discussed her role as Ugly Sister Botox, and her excitement at performing alongside her daughter Lily McFadden, playing Baby Botox.
Lily’s last experience at the New Theatre Royal was working behind the snack kiosk as a young teenager, while her mother Kerry performed on stage in 2016.
“I’ve realised I’m so nervous,” Lily said. “Everyone is so amazing and good at it, I just don’t want to let the team down. I’ve got butterflies but it’s like good butterflies!”
That is not the only family affair in the show, however, as the theatre’s artistic director Natalie Hayes-Cowley will be gracing the stage for the first time in six years, after she took over the reins of the New Theatre Royal with her husband in 2016.
Natalie, playing Ugly Sister Filler, said performing with her daughters Charlotte and Georgia in this year’s pantomime is a “big thing” for her, having not done so in over ten years.
“To perform with my daughters is a big thing, it may be the last time it actually happens so I’m very excited. There’s going to be lots of arguments backstage, a lot of mum-daughter banter, but on stage we will absolutely bring it.”
Georgia, playing the title role of Cinderella, has been doing pantomimes across the country for 10 years now, and she said she was “super excited” to play the lead character this year.
“I started off as an ensemble dancer as a kid, and now I’ve had a full circle moment as the leading lady, which is really exciting. I absolutely love Cinderella so couldn’t be more grateful to be playing the role this year.”
Charlotte Hayes-Cowley has called it a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to work on stage with her sister and mum, and cannot wait for this “lovely experience” as Baby Filler.
Playing the dastardly Wicked Stepmother will be Arran Wilson, who is looking forward to the prospect of getting into a character which is typically uncharted territory for him as a stage performer.
He said: “Well this is my first time being the villainess, so I’m really excited because normally I get cast as the nice prince or something. It’s nice to actually have a character I can get my teeth into.
“I’m looking forward to the boos, it sounds really odd because it’s the one thing a performer never wants on stage, but when it comes to panto you really milk that.”
Rounding off the cast this year is comedian Patrick Monahan, who will be bringing laughs to the role of Buttons, following a string of successful performances at the NTR’s in-house Comedy Night at the Royal.