Preparations afoot for new Telford Easter panto
Telford's record-breaking panto Cinderella has finished on a high with preparations afoot for a new Easter show.
More than 21,000 people watched the latest pantomime starring Eastenders’ Tony Discipline as Prince Charming and 90s pop singer Lolly, real name Anna Kumble, as Fairy Godmother.
Organisers at Oakengates Theatre said the 50 performances that saw the available 650 seats sold out for several shows over the festive period was the best since the professional panto was launched 19 years ago.
It also starred Isabel Gamble as Cinderella, Joe Chambers from Cbeebies as Dandini, comedian Carl Dutfield as Buttons, Oliver Gray and Dean Horner as the Ugly Sisters.
Now work is under way to repeat the Easter panto that was launched last year to celebrate the Telford's 50th birthday and the 50th anniversary of the theatre venue.
Theatre manager Debbie King said: "We finished the Telford Panto on Sunday after 50 performances and it was the most successful and spectacular that we've ever done. The feedback they we've had from the audiences has been phenomenal and it was a really fabulous production.
"We have smashed all box office records since the professional panto started in 2000.
"The whole production including the stars, the cast, the special effects and the performances were just a step up from all previous productions. It was outstanding and got an amazing response.
"Shone Productions have done it for the third year running and we are looking forward to Jack and the Beanstalk later this year for which tickets are already on sale.
"But before that comes Shone will be back with our Easter Panto which will be the Wizard of Oz. That will only be three shows and tickets are selling really fast for them so people need to book those quickly."
James Shone, of Shone Productions, said: “We are delighted to have achieved these record breaking sales for Oakengates Theatre. The success of Cinderella is a testament to the staff and cast who have excelled in all performance and also to the audiences who come back year after year.”
Last Easter, the inaugural Pantomania event put on solely by the theatre celebrated 50 years of Oakengates Theatre as well as 50 years of Telford starring Philip Meeks, Ian Billings and Phil Butler. However, this year Shone will be in charge of the stage production for the first time.
Telford & Wrekin Council's cabinet member for leisure Councillor John Minor said: “The feedback from this year’s pantomime has been outstanding. It is great to see so many people from both Telford and beyond visiting our theatre which entertains the whole family and brings many new visitors into the borough who we hope will come back soon.”