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Panto comes to a new venue but same thigh-slapping fun
Pantomime is coming to a magical new venue in Tamworth, Staffordshire, to provide a perfect pre-festive treat for theatre-lovers in the town. Tamworth Pantomime Company is bringing its new production of popular panto Dick Whittington to a school theatre while work continues on renovating the Tamworth Assembly Rooms. The brand new venue in question is the Landau Forte Academy QEMS Theatre in Ashby Road, Tamworth, which has been magically transformed in time for the story of Dick Whittington and his faithful cat to be performed there from December 15 to December 23. Tamworth Pantomime Company manager Alex Farrell said: "Tamworth theatre fans will be aware that the Assembly Rooms is still being renovated, so this year we decided to do something different. We have completely transformed the stage at QEMS to make it bigger and more magical, and if anybody has ever been to the 250-seat auditorium, they will be amazed to see that it has been well and truly pantomimed! We don't want to give away too much, but it will have to be seen to be believed."
Captain Barnacles and Dame Daphne Dumpling prepare for Dick Whittington
Dick Whittington, which will run for a total of 12 performances, features songs, dances, laughter and some of Tamworth's best loved performers including Tamworth Castle's Olivia Shepherd, who shares the role of Dick Whittington's best friend, Cat, with Elisha Raymond. The cast also includes former ITV newsreader, now BBC WM presenter, Llewella Bailey as Spirit of the Bells, irrepressible baddie Terry Batham as evil King Rat, and Sam Beech who has come full circle back to the show he first starred in as a child. Sam, now aged 22, first appeared in a Tamworth pantomime in 2001 at the age of just five when he played a ratling in Dick Whittington. He said: "I'm thrilled to be back on stage and working with the Tamworth Pantomime Company! When I first started in Dick Whittington as a child, Terry Batham played the fabulous King Rat, and I'm so pleased that he is still in the company, and playing the terrifying baddie once again."
Dick, played by Sam Beech, with his cat (Elisha Raymond)
The Tamworth Pantomime Company has transformed the theatre at QEMS for this magical show, which follows the story of Dick and Cat as they seek fame and fortune, meet the hapless Dame Daphne Dumpling and Idle Jack, go on an adventure with Captain Barnacles and try and avoid the clutches of King Rat to win the hand of Alice Fitzwarren. Alex, who plays Dame Daphne Dumpling in the show, said: "We really hope that our supporters can follows us to QEMS Theatre and enjoy this affordable and hilarious pantomime adventure. As usual, we have entertainment for all the family – slapstick and sweets for the kids, plus plenty of double-entendre and jokes for the adults – it is Dick Whittington after all - and the special effects are fantastic!"
Dick Whittington is coming to the QEMS Theatre
Dick Whittington can be seen at the QEMS Theatre from December 15 to 23. Tickets priced £14 for adults, £9 for children and concessions, and £42 for a family ticket, are available online at www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk, from the Tourist Information Centre in Marmion House or by calling the Box Office on 01827 709618. A transaction fee of £1 is payable on all online and telephone bookings. Alternatively, people are asked to visit www.TamworthPanto.co.uk.