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Sleeping Beauty heralds start of a new panto partnership at Rhodes

Rhodes Arts Complex is hoping that Sleeping Beauty will provide a dream start to its new panto era.

The enchanting classic fairy tale – which opens on Thursday December 5 for a month-long run – represents the Bishop's Stortford theatre's first pantomime co-production.

After a nine-year period in which the seasonal stage show was produced by Rhodes' former artistic director, Phil Dale, under the guise of his own Phoenix Theatre Arts company, the venue has forged a new panto partnership with Wisecracker Entertainment.

The professional cast, production team and some of the Rhodes staff at a read through in London (22503054)
The professional cast, production team and some of the Rhodes staff at a read through in London (22503054)

This contemporary production of Sleeping Beauty is written and directed by Ian McFarlane, who has worked on some of the biggest pantos in London and around the UK, directing stars such as soap actress and Loose Women panellist Sherrie Hewson, TV astrologer Russell Grant and Happy Days' Henry 'The Fonz' Winkler.

It is produced by Oliver Seadon, who has worked on hit family shows including Potted Potter plus CBeebies favourites In the Night Garden Live and Bing Live.

Richard Jones choreographs the show direct from opening Mary Poppins in the West End for Cameron Mackintosh and taking time away from the international tour of Miss Saigon.

Fairy Midnight (22503063)
Fairy Midnight (22503063)

The seven-strong professional cast have joined hot on the heels of various UK tours and London shows. They will be joined by 24 local young performers in three dance teams.

A spokeswoman for Rhodes said: "The new production brings together a brilliant creative team, fantastically funny script, incredibly talented cast, some favourite songs and, of course, a glamorous dame for what promises to be a festive treat for all.

"Rehearsals have started, and it’s all coming together and shaping up to be a very special and spectacular show that will bring a twist to the classic tale."

For anyone who's been asleep for hundreds of years, Sleeping Beauty is a love story about a princess cursed by an evil fairy to sleep for a hundred years who is awakened by a handsome prince.

Nanny Nora (22503074)
Nanny Nora (22503074)

Show times & ticket prices

Sleeping Beauty runs for 41 performances from Thursday December 5 to Sunday January 5:

Thu 5 – 7pm

Sat 7 – 11am, 3pm, 7pm

Sun 8, Sat 14 & Sun 15 – 1.30pm, 5pm

Sat 21 – 11am, 3pm, 7pm

Sun 22 & Mon 23 – 1.30pm, 5pm

Tue 24 (Christmas Eve) – 11am, 3pm

Thu 26 (Boxing Day) – 1.30pm, 5pm

Fri 27 & Sat 28 – 10am, 1.30pm, 5pm

Sun 29 & Mon 30 – 1.30pm, 5pm

Tue 31 (New Year's Eve) – 11am, 3pm

Wed 1 (New Year's Day), Fri 3, Sat 4 & Sun 5 – 1.30pm, 5pm.

Ticket prices range from £20 to £27 for standard, £18-£24 for concessions (over 60 and under 16) and £70-£89 for a family of two adults and two children or one adult and three children.

You can book online at www.rhodesartscomplex.co.uk, by calling the box office on 01279 701200 or in person at Rhodes Arts Complex in South Road.

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