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Theatre: Panto’s back! Oh yes it is

Deck the halls and prepare to rock around the Christmas tree as Cambridge Arts Theatre unveils its festive extravaganza – Dame Trott’s Panto Palaver – and Cambridge Junction announces it will stream The Snow Queen

What better way to celebrate reopening its doors after an eight month closure than with a rip-roaring, side-splitting (and covid-safe) panto themed adventure? Cambridge Arts Theatre has earned rave reviews over the years for its magical, sparkling and uproariously funny pantomimes, packed with feel-good ditties, topical gags and (and those infamous slosh

scenes!) – so we’re cock-a-hoop that the ‘show will go on’ this year in Dame Trott’s Panto Palaver - a socially distanced adventure written by Al Lockhart-Morley.

Dame Trott's Panto Palaver at Cambridge Arts (43404115)
Dame Trott's Panto Palaver at Cambridge Arts (43404115)

Get practising those boos as Count Covidula, the stupidest, baddest baddie that you’ve never heard of, has been busy masterminding a dastardly plan to ruin pantomime for everyone. He’s laid his hands on this year’s master scripts and is cackling heartily as he rewrites the stories (with unexpected and hilarious results!).

Will Dame Trott and her beloved cow, Daisy, escape from the clutches of the big bad meany, Giant Trumplebore? Does Dick Whittington become Mayor of London or will he be defeated in a fixed election? And will Cinderella tie the knot with her Prince Charming, or will the Stoneybroke Lockdown have her home by 10pm?

Dave Murphy, Chief Executive at Cambridge Arts Theatre, says: “We thought long and hard before deciding to create this year’s show but realised that, this year more than ever before, we need take some control over our own destiny. This is us putting our best foot forward at the end of the most challenging year in our history. Amidst the covid gloom I can promise

you laughter, panto madness, feel-good songs, familiar faces and some much-needed festive cheer. Please join us for the fun.”

A host of panto favourites make up the all-star cast, including the outrageously funny Matt Crosby, returning for his 15 th Christmas in Cambridge, playing Dame Trott. Coronation Street’s Stephen Beckett reprises his role of baddie, as the wicked Count Covidula, joined by West End star Lucy May Barker (Mamma Mia) and Isaac Stanmore, who thrilled audiences as Buttons in 2019’s Cinderella.

Dame Trott’s Panto Palaver is directed by Michael Gattrell (Dear Zoo) – and a variety of measures have been put in place to make the show safe (Cambridge Arts Theatre has been recognised as one of the official ‘See It Safely’ venues, accredited by the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre). Enjoy the panto magic from December 11 to January 3, 2021. For full information and ticket prices visit cambridgeartstheatre.com

Cambridge Junction's online Christmas show, The Snow Queen (43404081)
Cambridge Junction's online Christmas show, The Snow Queen (43404081)

Meanwhile Cambridge Junction will be streaming its family Christmas show – The Snow Queen - online this year. Sit back with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie and enjoy the performance, created by New International Encounter (NIE), the team behind Snow White (2018) and Beauty & the Beast (2016).

Join Gerda on her mission to save her best friend Kaj from the Snow Queen in the frozen north in this tale of enduring friendship, featuring a broken mirror, wild woods, a Mongolian yurt, helpful crows and a reindeer or two!

Matt Burman, Cambridge Junction’s Artistic Director, enthuses: “I’m really excited by the work that NIE are doing to make a digital chapter of this epic and classic Christmas tale, and excited too to bring everyone together online to share the premiere with our audiences on December 20. The eve of the winter solstice feels like the perfect time to huddle together for the hot drink of your choice, some proper heart-warming storytelling, and to look forward to next year, to the days getting longer and brighter, and to renewing and restarting in every possible way.”

Early bird bookers can order a limited-edition activity pack via Cambridge Junction’s website, featuring a map of the Snow Queen’s world, a piece of the ogre’s mirror and fun activities to play along with the show at home.

The Snow Queen will be available to stream on the Cambridge Junction website from December 20 to January 3, 2021. Book online at junction.co.uk/the-snow-queen

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