Market Drayton's first panto in nearly two years is a near sell-out

Excitement is building for Market Drayton's first pantomime in nearly two years.

Dick Whittington at Festival Drayton Centre
Dick Whittington at Festival Drayton Centre

Tickets have nearly sold out for The Big Tiny's production of Dick Whittington, coming to the Festival Drayton Centre in December.

After all theatre events and live shows were cancelled in 2020, the town has been without its traditional Christmas pantomime to welcome in the festive season.

The last panto performance at the centre was in 2019 and The Big Tiny are looking forward to bringing panto classic, Dick Whittington, back to Shropshire.

Will Cousins, producer at Big Tiny Productions, said it was "about time" people got to celebrate Christmas properly with the return of panto.

"We have been working on this production – which was postponed from last year – for well over a year now so we are confident this our best panto in Market Drayton yet," Will said.

"We are definitely flying the flag for little theatres all over the country. Everyone is so glad to be back.

"For both the actors and the audience it's about time we celebrated Christmas properly and in a way we know best. We are bringing a traditional panto back to Market Drayton with lavish sets and costumes and a brilliant cast from all over the country."

Dick Whittington at Festival Drayton Centre

Will said they had around 4,000 applicants approach them to be in the show, but they are confident they have chosen the best possible people for the job.

"They are a bunch of absolutely stupendous actors," he said. "Lauren Steetle, who plays Princess Alice is actually from Telford and this is her professional debut.

"We have got some big effects this year as well – including a huge rat but people will have to come and see it to believe it.

"This will be our third production in Market Drayton but our first one back since the pandemic so nearly two years."

Tickets for the show, which runs from December 2-5 with evening and matinee performances, have been selling fast.

Dick Whittington at Festival Drayton Centre

Will added: "People have been really excited for the return of this panto. Tickets have sold very well this year and there is a few left but we are really happy with the amount sold so far.

"We have all missed it massively. There was a point last year where we had costumes and sets ready to go – we make them all in our in-house workshop – but it was postponed again.

"So it wasn't really until we were all back together again at that first read-through that I realised how much I missed it all.

"It really is a show designed with Market Drayton in mind – if people know the area they might pick up on a few local jokes here and there.

"Characters this year include the Dame – everybody's favourite character, Dick Whittington and his cat, and the Queen Rat – this year's baddie.

"We are continuing to push what we can do so each year we get bigger and better and continue to be the best little panto in the country."

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