Shrewsbury panto brings in professionals, not stars

Shrewsbury’s pantomine will not be a star-studded affair because organisers prefer to invest in the show itself, they have vowed.

Shrewsbury’s pantomine will not be a star-studded affair because organisers prefer to invest in the show itself, they have vowed.

The comments came at yesterday’s launch of this year’s show Cinderella by Theatre Severn and Spillers Pantomimes as they promise it would enchant audiences of all ages this Christmas and looks set to eclipse the success of last year’s Peter Pan, despite the lack of big names.

Show producer and writer John Spillers said: “All other venues say ‘you have to have a star’ but you don’t have to have a star for a successful panto.

“Instead we pump money into machinery, costumes and hard-working professional actors.”

He added: “I’m really excited about the show this year. We love coming to Shrewsbury. The town looks wonderful all year round but there really is something magical about Shrewsbury at Christmas.”

Theatre manager Peter Nicholson said: “Our first pantomime sold more than 90 per cent of tickets, yet by comparison with this time last year, sales and group reservations for Cinderella indicate that we are on course to exceed last year’s attendance.

“This year we will present 56 performances, nine more than last year.

“In recent years, the huge success of the pantomime has seen us turning customers away from the box office, so these additional performances will ensure that more people can attend the Theatre Severn pantomime than ever before. However, with just under half of the tickets now left available, I must urge people to buy their tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”

Playing Cinders, Samantha Dorrance returns to Theatre Severn following her performance as Wendy in last year’s Peter Pan.

Miss Dorrance became well-known after winning Disney Channel’s “You’re the Star” competition in 2007.

After wowing Disney bosses, she took on the role of Disney Channel presenter and also worked on the set of High School Musical 3 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

She will be joined by comic Andy Pelos, as Buttons, and BBC Radio Shropshire’s Eric Smith, as Baron Hardup.

Cinderella will open on December 2 and run until January 3.

Tickets are available from Theatre Severn and the Old Market Hall, by calling (01743) 281281 or online at www.theatre severn.co.uk