Yvonne Arnaud panto gets under way in Guildford

Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre gets under way with its 2023-24 pantomime Cinderella.
Claudia Kariuki (contributed pic)Claudia Kariuki (contributed pic)
Claudia Kariuki (contributed pic)

Spokeswoman Nancy Hannigan said: “The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is excited to confirm the full cast of their annual home-grown pantomime, including EastEnders and Detectorists favourite Lucy Benjamin who’s set to star in this year’s panto as the Wicked Stepmother.

“The final cast member to be announced is Claudia Kariuki, who will play this year’s Fairy Godmother. Claudia has recently finished a two-year run as Jane Seymour in the multi-award nominated smash hit British pop musical, SIX at London’s Vaudeville Theatre, notably winning Best Non-Binary Performer in a Musical at the 2023 Black British Theatre Awards and nominated for LGBTQIA+ Champion in the same year.

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“Co-founder of Guildford Shakespeare Company Matt Pinches will play Ugly Stepsister Louise to Peter Gordon’s Thelma. Radio’s Peter Gordon returns for his 18th year as panto dame at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, joined by CBeebies star James Merry, who the theatre is pleased to welcome back for his third Yvonne Arnaud panto. Clair Gleave will play the character of Cinderella, and Stanton Wright will complete the fairy-tale couple as Prince Charming. This year’s fun-filled family pantomime, Cinderella, will play from December 2-January 7.

“A classic Yvonne Arnaud take on the original rags to riches tale, it will be the godmother of all pantos, full of slapstick and slosh, music and magic. Yvonne Arnaud’s sparkling, award-winning pantomimes are made and rehearsed in-house at the theatre. Written, directed, designed and staged by their team, you can be sure of a thoroughly original production for all the family every time. The recent pantomime Dick Wittington won them Best Ensemble in the UK Pantomime Awards. Cinderella will be the Yvonne Arnaud’s fourth pantomime directed by the theatre’s chief executive and director Joanna Read.”

For more information and to book tickets, visit Yvonne-Arnaud.co.uk or call the box office on 01483 440000 (Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm).

Lucy Benjamin’s theatre includes: Here (Papatango, Southwark Playhouse); Henry V Parts ll & lll (RSC); Love Letters, In Basildon, Deadly Murder (Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch); The Ruffian On The Stair (Hope Theatre, London); Hairspray (National Tour); Peter Pan (The Mayflower, Southampton); The Pretender Agenda (New Players, London); Framed (National Tour); The Play What I Wrote, The Pocket Dream (Theatre Royal, York); Pow (Paines Plough, National Tour); Worzel Gummidge ( Birmingham Rep/Cambridge Theatre); Annie (Adelphi Theatre); Barnardo (Royalty Theatre). Her television includes Eastenders, Doctors, Detectorists, Casualty, The Dumping Ground, New Tricks, Holby City, Missing, Kingdom, Dangerfield and The Afternoon Play.

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