Rugby Theatre will be welcoming in 2017 with the heart-warming rags to riches pantomime Dick Whittington.
The show, which starts on Friday January 13, features thrilling adventure, songs, dance, laughs, slapstick, a dastardly villain and a loveable dame.
The show’s director is Emma Bright. It’s her first time in charge of a panto, though she has appeared in many of them at Rugby Theatre over the years.
Emma said: “Being on this side of things has been a real eye-opener, and I’m really lucky to have been blessed with such a wonderfully talented and supportive cast, and to be joined by the Carrie Bianco Dance School’s fabulous pupils.”
Among those starring is Michele Goode in the title role, fresh from her success playing Rita in the summer’s hit musical Made in Dagenham.
Alongside her is another Made in Dagenham favourite, John Tweddle, who played union convener Monty. He has been with the theatre since the 1980s making his debut as Tony in West Side Story.
He has played a variety of character roles over more than 25 years treading the boards at Henry Street, though this is his first outing as pantomime dame.
John says he’s thoroughly looking forward to getting on the make-up, wig and outrageous costumes to play Sarah the Cook.
“We’ve had so much fun in rehearsal, and it’s an honour to be given the responsibility of playing the dame,” said John.
“If the audience have as much fun watching as we’ve had putting it together, then they are in for a great time!”
There will be 13 performances with the final show at 5.30pm on Sunday, January 22.
And there will be an extra special evening for a group of young people and their families and friends, as the theatre is giving the Rugby Autistic Network a sneak preview of the show.
Marketing director Nicky Main explained: “We were approached by the organisation’s secretary, Joanne Willis, who told us how simple things like a trip to the theatre were often difficult for people from the group.
“We said we’d be glad to help in any way we could, and offered to stage an exclusive performance for them at the final dress rehearsal.”
Tickets and further information are available from the Rugby Theatre box office on 01788 541234, or the website, www.rugbytheatre.co.uk.