SUN might still be filling the sky but Christmas will soon be upon us and one arts hub has already announced details of its pantomime.
The Regent Theatre, based in Stoke-on-Trent, is putting on a version of Dick Whittington this Christmas with Jonathan Wilkes taking on the title role and Christian Patterson playing Sarah The Cook.
They will be joined by West End star Louise Dearman, who is perhaps most well-known for her roles in the hit musical Wicked!
She will be playing the role of the beautiful Alice and will be accompanied by Kai Owen, from Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood, who will play the role of the King Rat.
Jonathan said: “We are delighted that Louise and Kai will be joining us for Dick Whittington this year.
“Dick Whittington is one of my very favourite Pantos and I cannot wait for us to get started later this year.
“We say it every year – but it is true – we are confident this year will be even bigger and better than ever before.
“Seeing people leave The Regent with massive smiles on their faces at Christmas time is such a good feeling and being a Stoke lad myself, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else at that time of year.”
Louise is no stranger to Stoke-on-Trent after performing in the 2007 pantomime Cinderella, and has previously been a judge on Jonathan Wilkes’ Stoke’s Top Talent.
She said: “When I was approached to come back to Stoke for this year’s Panto I couldn’t wait to say ‘yes.’
“It is a brilliant place to be at Christmas and I think the Regent’s Panto is one of the best around.
“Jonny and Christian are a dream to work with.”
Kai last performed at The Regent in 2012 in Cinderella, and is also delighted to be retuning later this year.
He said: “It only seems like yesterday I was in Stoke for the 2012 Panto, and I had the best time.
“I was excited to hear there would be the opportunity to come back this year, and I jumped at the chance when it arose.”
Also coming back to Stoke-on-Trent are First Family Entertainment, who are producing the winter stage show.
The group are no strangers to the Regent Theatre having produced record-breaking productions of Mother Goose, Aladdin, Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates.
Kevin Wood, chief executive of First Family Entertainment, said: “Jonny and Christian are the panto dream team and Dick Whittington is shaping up to be an absolute stormer.
“Jonny tells me it’s going to be even funnier than ever before. Joined alongside Louise and Kai, this year’s Regent panto has a very strong line up and we are very excited to be producing the show once more.”
Andrew Nicklin, general manager of The Regent Theatre, said: “Jonny and the team put in so much effort to make our Panto one of the best around.
“We are delighted they are returning and the cast line-up is very strong for Dick Whittington.
“It’ll be here before we know it, so I’d urge people to snap up their tickets as soon as they can.”
Dick Whittington is at The Regent Theatre from Friday, November 28 until Sunday, January 4.
Tickets are now on sale and are available in person from the Regent Theatre box office, by calling 08448 717649 or by visiting www.atgtickets.com/stoke