The Panto season is here

cheryl fergisonFor most families Christmas just isn’t complete without a trip to a festive show and this year Derbyshire has a huge choice of fun on offer to add sparkle to the dark winter days.

As well as the professionally produced re-workings of the classics there are also plenty of am-dram shows to keep you amused with comedy, catchy sing-along songs and colourful dance routines.

Cinderella is searching for her Prince at Buxton this year with a little help from her Fairy Godmother being played by Sarah Thomas who was Glenda Wilkinson in Last of the Summer Wine.

In the title role is Olivia Sloyan fresh from the acclaimed musical Blood Brothers.

Opera House faithful will remember her for her 2011 performance as Snow White.

In the role of Buttons we have Jonny Freeman better known as Frank London from CBBC’s MI High.

The chorus has been handpicked from young dancers from across the region.

Cinderella is being brought to Buxton by Channel Theatre Productions and runs from December 12 to January 1 with a variety of performance times. Check out for more details.

In Derby hero Jack, guided by the Spirit of the Beans must slay the gruesome Giant Blunderbore and free Princess Amelia if there is to be a happy pantoland ending.

Jack and the Beanstalk is a Paul Holman Associates production and stars EastEnders Cheryl Fergison as Spirit and Marcus Collins, a former X-Factor finalist, as Jack.

Playing the fools are Crackerjack’s Don Mclean as Dame Trott and Derby’s favourite comedian Mike McClean as Simple Simon. See what Mike has to say about his role on page 26.

The show starts on December 4 and runs until January 5. For more details about tickets and times go to

Watch a trailer for the show here

A magical story is set to dazzle and delight audiences at Chesterfield as the same production company presents Beauty and the Beast starring Tina Barrett from S Club 7 in the role of heroine alongside Jon Moses from ITV’s Superstar as the Count of Christi Monto – aka The Beast.

There are a host of colourful characters, from the outrageous Madame Fifi, played by Danny Mills, to Professor Crackpot with his crazy inventions.

Rik Gaynor, who won audiences over with his quick witted one liners in last year’s show, is making a welcome return to the Pomegrante Theatre as Pierre the village laughter maker. There will no doubt be plenty of mishaps and mayhem.

The show will burst on to the stage on December 6 and run until January 5. For more details about tickets go to

At Derby Theatre’s Studio there is a special show for the young.

The audience will be able to follow Pinocchio and his grasshopper friend as they set off on an adventure to find some fun…if only his nose would just stay still.

Hiccup Theatre has joined forces with the acclaimed writer Michael Rosen (We’re Going on a Bear Hunt) to bring Carlo Collodi’s classic tale to life in a sparkling new version.

It has been directed by Derby Theatre’s Sarah Brigham and is being shown from December 9 to 24. Go to for more details.

In the main theatre you can see Horrible Christmas by Terry Deary. Turn to pages  20 and 21 to read an interview with the author of the Horrible Histories books.

For more details on tickets go to

The Christmas Chocolate Shop is being staged at The Guildhall Theatre in Derby from December 12-29.

There is plenty of music, magic and mischief in this delightful play. As faces glow with Christmas joy and across the city snow begins to fall, a sad shopkeeper shivers alone in his store.

When a magical urchin arrives she rekindles a spark of his long-forgotten dream and with a sprinkling of festive magic he transforms the dusty old shop into a wondrous chocolate emporium.

A few days earlier the theatre is the setting for the Kaleidoscope Players’ version of Beauty and The Beast. There is plenty of slapstick in the amateur group’s version of the show which is on from December 4-6.

Go to to check out tickets for both shows.

The Guildhall Theatre will also be the setting for The Watson Players’ Sleeping Beauty. The players are promising you the funniest Carabosse ever in the show which runs from January 21 to 26. The box office number for tickets is 01773 882774.

The Mickleover Players are staging a popular pantomime – Robinson Crusoe and the Pirates with their own twist and some new and exciting characters. They will be at the John Port School Hall in Etwall on December 6, 7, 13 and 14. Go to for more details.

Not too far away the Chellaston Players will be presenting a brand new pantomime called Wrong Hood which is billed as featuring all your favourite characters in one show.

It is on from January 8-12 at St Peter’s Church Hall.