Kids’ TV Legend Dave Benson Phillips Poised for Panto!

Posted: 21 Mar 2018 - by PHA

The Spotlight, Hoddesdon, today announced that kids’ TV legend Dave Benson Phillips will star in its 2018 pantomime Dick Whittington and his Cat from Friday 14 December to Monday 31 December 2018.

TV favourite Dave has been at the heart of family entertainment for thirty years, becoming one of the most popular faces on the small screen. He fronted the phenomenally popular, BAFTA nominated, Get Your Own Back, which ran for fourteen series. He later went on to be a fixture of Saturday morning TV with his popular Wake Up in The Wild Room, airing on ITV for two years.

He has also presented numerous other programmes including the Fun Song Factory video series, the CITV series Petswap, co-presented by Fearne Cotton, Nick Jnr for Nickelodeon and Words and Pictures and Go For It for BBC Education.

Pantomime Producer Paul Holman said “Following a record breaking run of Snow White last year at The Spotlight I am thrilled that Dave is joining our 2018 line-up in Dick Whittington as the hilarious Idle Jack. Dave’s years starring as principal comic in the biggest pantomimes in the country, stage presence and showmanship will ensure this production of Dick Whittington is a truly magical experience for all the family.”

London's streets of gold are calling and, with his faithful cat by his side, our hero Dick goes searching for his fortune in the big city. But he won't make it without your help! Be there to cheer Dick on along his journey, 'boo' at the biggest baddie of all time - King Rat.  Packed full of fabulous tunes, stunning dancing, amazing costumes, plus lots of festive sparkle and chances to join in, this is going to be one Christmas panto not to miss. It’s gonna be a purrrfect panto!

Dick Whittington and his Cat plays at The Spotlight, Hoddesdon this December. Tickets are on sale now from the box office (01992 441946) and online (   

news images

Art Attack star is back in Brid!

Posted: 20 Mar 2018 - by PHA

Bridlington Spa today announced that Art Attack star Lloyd Warbey will be back in Brid for another pantomime season in Jack and the Beanstalk from Friday 14 December 2018 to Sunday 6 January 2019.

Back by popular demand following his appearance as Wishee Washee in last year’s Aladdin Lloyd will once again take charge of the comedy as he returns to play Jack’s loveable cheeky chappy brother Simon Trott.

The first star to be announced for this year’s panto Lloyd will once again swap his paintbrush for pantomime. Best-known to children for his fun-loving attitude, quirky style and passion for creativity, Art Attack presenter Lloyd will be sure to keep the fun factor flowing. An experienced performer, Lloyd completed his professional training at the East 15 acting school before going on to tread the boards in the UK tour of Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Jungle Book and Peter Pan to name just a few tours. But it’s as the enthusiastic, larger-than-life presenter of the long-running telly favourite Art Attack that Lloyd is best known to children all around the country.

Speaking of his role Lloyd said: “I am thrilled to have been invited back to Bridlington Spa to play another big comedy character in pantomime. It’s an incredible venue with some of the best audiences in the country who hiss, boo, cheer and get involved in the action. I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve to make this year Brid’s best and funniest panto yet.”

Jack and the Beanstalk is now on sale. Call the Bridlington Spa Box Office on 01262 678258, visit, or book in person at the Bridlington Spa.


news images

Panto Favourites Return to Redhill

Posted: 13 Mar 2018 - by PHA

The Harlequin Theatre and Cinema today announced that Neil Wheatley, Simon Bashford and Abigail Welford will return to Redhill for another pantomime season in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from Friday 7 December to Monday 31 December 2018.

Following a record breaking run of Peter Pan which saw thousands entertained and enchanted by their comedy capers, Neil Wheatley, Simon Bashford and Abigail Welford are back by incredible popular demand to star in another classic family pantomime.

Running riot and packing the perfect panto punch once again will be Redhill’s favourite panto comic Neil Wheatley who’s back for his 6th consecutive Redhill panto. Neil’s loud and laddish performances have kept him bouncing back to the Harlequin where he has taken firm charge of the comedy as the chief panto comic each season.

Simon Bashford also returns, treading the boards this year as the larger-than-life Dame Dolly in his 6th consecutive Harlequin outing as panto dame. Simon has enchanted Redhill audiences every Christmas with his unique blend of warmth, wit and fabulous frocks.

Joining the gang will be Abigail Welford who returns as our story’s heroine Snow White. Having played the leading lady in five Harlequin pantomimes Abi is well known to Redhill audiences for bringing story book characters to life with magical and memorable performances.

Pantomime Producer Paul Holman said: “It’s such a pleasure to reunite Redhill’s favourite panto trio who have such overwhelming local popularity. For those looking for traditional pantomime, lavish costumes, laugh-out-loud comedy and strong acting, music and choreography, Neil, Simon and Abi are sure to tick all these boxes. We have already seen record breaking advance booking at the box office for Snow White and can’t wait to announce our celebrity performer in this year’s show in the very near future.”

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs opens on 7 December and runs until 31 December. Tickets are available from the Harlequin Theatre box office on 01737 276500 and online at


news images

Jez Returns for Panto Number 10!

Posted: 19 Feb 2018 - by PHA

He has become a firm friend to Leeds and charmed Carriageworks audiences every Christmas with his warmth, wit and winning ways. He’s travelled the world reporting for Football Focus and Holiday and presented the BBC’s Record Breakers. This Christmas he will be back in his favourite city to create a new record of his own!

The engaging and energetic Jez Edwards will be bouncing onto the Carriageworks stage in Beauty and the Beast this Christmas for a record breaking tenth consecutive pantomime appearance.

Jez will star as funny man Philippe Philoppe in the timeless panto tale after nine hugely successful years treading the boards at the popular city centre venue.

Paul Holman, for pantomime producers Paul Holman Associates, said: “I’m absolutely over the moon that Jez is returning in Beauty and the Beast. He’s helped to build Carriageworks Christmas audiences who ask every year if Jez will be back. He’s a real audience pleaser, appealing to all ages and has established himself as Leeds’ favourite pantomime comic in what is becoming Leeds favourite traditional pantomime.”

Jez said: “It is fantastic to be back for panto number ten! It’s great to be part of a team keeping traditional panto alive in Leeds’ City Centre and to see the show going from strength to strength every year. This year in Beauty and the Beast I’ll be playing French funny man Philippe Philoppe with my own Yorkshire twist. How’s that going to work? You’ll just have to watch to find out!’

Beauty and the Beast opens on Friday 23 November and runs until Monday 31 December 2018. With £12 tickets available for all non-peak performances and thousands of tickets already sold, early booking for this magical pantomime adventure is advised.  


news images

Terry Gleed to star in panto for the FOURTH consecutive year!

Posted: 24 Jan 2018 - by Marina Theatre

He will be starring in his fourth consecutive pantomime at the Marina Theatre – returning by popular demand!

And popular funny man Terry Gleed has really found his home from home in Lowestoft as he gears up to play Smee in this year’s production of Peter Pan.

Terry, who has previously starred as Pickles in Sleeping Beauty, French Freddy in Beauty and the Beast and Wishee Wishee in Aladdin, will now will take on the role of Smee when Peter Pan runs for 32 performances full of pirates and fairy dust between Dec 13 and Jan 1.

Speaking about his return, Terry said: “I am absolutely overwhelmed to be coming back for a fourth time. The audiences are always electric, exciting and with a warm family community spirit which encourages us on stage to have a fun connection.

“Doing schools visits and community Christmas events is a joy for me and the meet and greets in the foyer after each show is the icing on the cake.

“Lowestoft has a magic all on its own – from the moment I arrive until the curtain falls on the last night, I have a constant smile on my face.”

It will be the sixth time that Terry has taken a trip to Never Land, having previously played a Lost Boy opposite Lulu and Eric Sykes and most recently playing Smee alongside Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee at the Aylesbury Civic Centre in 2007.

Lee Henderson, Chief Executive of the Marina Theatre, said: “We are all delighted to welcome back our resident funny man to our most popular run of performances in the year.

“Terry always proves extremely popular with our audiences and we look forward to another fun-filled show for all the family to enjoy.

“Aladdin was our most successful pantomime on record and we hope as many people as possible will join us again for Peter Pan.”

Pantomime Producer Paul Holman added: “I am delighted to bring Terry back to my home town of Lowestoft for a fourth consecutive season.

“The town has become a home from home for Terry. He arrives weeks before the curtain even goes up to meet, greet and entertainment the public out and about in Lowestoft.

“He loves the town and the people and he loves to make us laugh. With years of showbiz credits and a warm cheeky chappy personality Terry is the perfect choice to play the naughty but loveable pirate Smee in our 2018 swashbuckling pantomime Peter Pan.”

Until Feb 2, you can purchase tickets for all Red and Blue performances (excluding Premium Seats) for just £13 as part of the theatre’s Super Early Bird price offer.

We’ve already sold nearly 1000 tickets for the performances, as people make the most of the fantastic early bird rates.

Call the box office on 01502 533200 or CLICK HERE to begin your pantomime adventure today!

news images

Paul Holman Associates UK Season 2017/18

Posted: 23 Jan 2018 - by PHA

For the 2017/18 season PHA presented nine pantomimes, five Christmas themed Santa shows at venues nationwide and staged its first international show with Aladdin in the UAE. Stars from all sides of the dazzling disco ball of showbiz life gave traditional tales the magic and wow factor of pantomime.

The season saw Paul Holman Associates present pantomime for the first time at the Lowther Pavilion, Lytham St Annes with Dick Whittington and stage festive spectacular Santa Claus shows for those both young and young at heart at Watford Colosseum, Epsom Playhouse, Guildford’s G Live, Swindon Arts Centre and Catford Broadway.

Casts around the country were led by stars including Dave Myers, Ann Widdecombe, Chesney Hawkes, Sam Attwater, Kelli Young, Mark Read, Jai McDowall, Dave Benson Phillips, Nicole Faraday, Anna Williamson and Swashbuckle stars Richard David Caine and Joseph Elliott. Joining the line-up stars from the West End including Niki Evans and Cassie Compton hit the right note with powerhouse vocal performances on the pantomime stage.

With the view that comedy lies at the heart of any great pantomime, PHA invited audience favourite comics to tread the boards once more at venues around the country. Terry Gleed made it a hat trick in his third season at Lowestoft’s Marina Theatre while  Neil Wheatley returned to Redhill Harlequin for a sixth year and Jez Edwards celebrated his ninth panto season at Leeds’ Carriageworks Theatre.

Throughout 2017 PHA continued to work with leading directors, choreographers and musical directors and experts in the field of pantomime to create thoroughly modern productions that retained the much loved slapstick, comedy, music, dance and storytelling of traditional pantomime.

PHA continued to work with creative teams to give all shows strong production values and dazzling sets and costumes that gave all audiences wow factor.  The season  in particular saw PHA grow its own extensive wardrobe with new custom made costumes for shows nationwide bringing the collection to over 4,000 costumes.

Pantomime Producer Paul Holman said: “It has been a terrific season entertaining hundreds of thousands of people with classic pantomime titles. Our success is as always shared with the performers, venues and creative teams we work with to create magical and memorable pantomime for all audiences. Special thanks must also be extended to all my team at PHA who work throughout the year to make what we do possible. It has been remarkable to see the warm reception that greets our casts in local communities and to achieve record audience attendances at many venues. It is truly a joy to see the great British tradition of pantomime continuing to thrive in 2018.”

 For full details on all PHA activity and upcoming shows please visit or follow @PHApantos on Facebook and Twitter.

news images

Well-Known Columnist Praises Chesterfield's Pomegranate Theatre and Young Actor

Posted: 18 Jan 2018 - by Chesterfield Theatres

A well-known columnist has praised Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre and a young boy who starred in a pantomime. Writing in his opinion column for The Times newspaper, Matthew Parris, said he went along to the theatre with friends and family to watch The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan.

Mr Parris, a former Conservative MP for West Derbyshire, wrote: “I’m no theatre critic. Not for me the West End press nights and paparazzi. But last Thursday I took family and friends to Peter Pan at the Pomegranate in Chesterfield, a little Victorian jewel of a theatre. 

“A glorious show whose part-professional, part-local cast of dancers, singers, flying actors and a ticking crocodile packed the place, excited children’s screams filling the air.

“The part of Mr and Mrs Darling’s smallest son Michael was played (if I read my programme right) by Brandon Holland, a very small, fair-haired and presumably local child, who looked about eight. A tiny boy with a giant talent, Brandon’s stage presence was phenomenal. In or out of the spotlight, he never stopped acting, dancing around, totally immersed in his role, drawing all eyes with his talent and sheer exhilaration at the magic of theatre. Move over, Christopher Biggins, your nemesis has been born and his name is Brandon.”

Councillor Steve Brunt, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for town centres and visitor economy, said: “Families flocked to see The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan at the Pomegranate Theatre this festive season with 26,300 people watching the show – an increase on last year – our thanks to the cast and crew for all their hard work in making it such a success.

“We are thrilled that Matthew Parris, writing in The Times, joined local critics in praising the show and the theatre.”

news images

Pantomime Fundraising For Chestnut Tree House Tripled

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 - by Worthing Theatres and PHA

Worthing Theatres triple funds raised over pantomime for Chestnut Tree House

For the past two years Worthing Theatres have united with children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House by welcoming them as their official charity partner for the annual pantomime. The aim of the partnership is to help raise funds and awareness for the Sussex based charity through fundraising events, marketing and volunteer bucket collections across the duration of their Christmas production. The hospice cares for 300 children and young adults from 0-19 years of age with progressive life-shortening conditions.

It was today announced that after the recent production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, £3925.34 was raised; three times the amount they raised the previous year during The Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan.

Theatre staff joined in the fundraising as they worked together to pull off an all-day Santa cycle at the Connaught Theatre. From 9.30am to 4.30pm, the staff cycled non-stop in festive fancy dress on an electronical bicycle provided by South Downs Leisure, until they reached 90 miles; the length of Sussex. The event contributed £268 towards the grand total.

The cast of Snow White also paid a visit to the house in Arundel to meet the children and staff at Chestnut Tree House. Dressed as their characters in the production, Chesney Hawkes (Prince Benedict), Cassie Compton (Snow White), Richard David-Caine (‘Orrible Herman) and Joseph Elliott (Muddles) arrived at the house, and were given a tour of the hospice, originally led by staff members, until one of the children decided to take over and gave them the grand tour.

Worthing Theatres have announced that their 2018 Christmas production will be Aladdin: The Pantomime, which is now on sale. Their official charity partner will continue to be Chestnut Tree House.

Caroline Roberts-Quigley, Community Fundraiser at Chestnut Tree House says “When I was told how much had been raised from collections at the panto performances I was genuinely astounded. Thank you so much to everyone at the theatre who helped our volunteers with these collections, and for doing the Santa Cycle making the grand total an incredible £3,925.34. Thanks to Worthing Theatres, the ‘one and only’ Chesney Hawkes has joined us as a Patron to help us celebrate our 15th Birthday this year. We are truly grateful to the theatres for agreeing to support us in this special way over the last couple of years, and we are humbled by their decision to continue supporting us at their forthcoming Christmas panto, Aladdin. The support really does make a difference to everyone who uses our services.”

Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Customer Services Cllr Heather Mercer says “I’d like to say a massive thank you to all of our patrons who donated towards this incredible sum, and the theatres staff for making this possible. To have tripled the funds raised from last year is a fantastic achievement for a very special cause, it is vital to support children’s hospices as they receive less funding than adult hospices, and we look forward to continuing this wonderful partnership.”

news images

Breaking Mad with Anna Williamson: The Insider’s Guide to Conquering Anxiety

Posted: 16 Jan 2018 - by PHA

Paul Holman Associates, one of the UK’s leading producers of pantomime and family entertainment is delighted to announce a new production for 2018 at The Spotlight Theatre Hoddesdon. Fresh from her appearance at the theatre in a record breaking run of Snow White, TV presenter and Life Coach Anna Williamson will return to the venue with Breaking Mad with Anna Williamson: The Insider’s Guide to Conquering Anxiety.

A popular TV presenter, therapist and bestselling author, for this brand new production Anna will bring her professional and personal experiences of mental health, whilst embracing and understanding emotional wellbeing.

Anna will share her own story of dealing with crippling anxiety, which started 10 years ago on a high energy children's TV show. The smiling, sunny presenter was crumbling behind the scenes and she had no idea what she was feeling and why (anxiety attacks). Luckily she reached out, sought help and was inspired by the help she received. Anna went on to train herself and is now a counsellor with her own private practice and works for Child Line, Mind and the Princes Trust.

As a Life Coach and Master NLP Practitioner Anna gives practical advice, exercises and techniques to conquer anxiety. Through telling her own story and sharing tried and tested therapy-based techniques, Breaking Mad with Anna Williamson aims to help the audience learn more about themselves, or learn more about others, and be able to identify anxiety and stress triggers to better enhance self-belief.

Show Producer Paul Holman said: “Inspired by Anna’s bestselling book and her own very personal journey of dealing with anxiety this production is a unique theatre experience. Anna’s warm, bubbly and friendly approach sets the show up to be an unmissable experience and opportunity to give yourself some ‘you time’.

Breaking Mad with Anna Williamson: The Insider’s Guide to Conquering Anxiety plays at the Spotlight Theatre, Hoddesdon on Wednesday 28th February 2018. Tickets are available from the box office on 01992 441946 and online at

news images

Two former panto stars swap the Marina stage for the Big Brother House!

Posted: 03 Jan 2018 - by Marina Theatre & PHA

Two of our former Lowestoft pantomime stars entered the Celebrity Big Brother house last night (Tue) – with millions of people across the country tuning in to watch.

Ann Widdecombe appeared as the Empress of China just days before entering the Channel 5 programme – starring in The Marina Theatre's Christmas pantomime Aladdin alongside singer/songwriter Mark Read.

Ann played ‘The Very Delectable, Strictly Respectable, Empress Chop Suey III’ in the record breaking pantomime.

More than 12,600 people enjoyed the pantomime in Lowestoft – with Ann making a number of references to her infamous stint on Strictly Come Dancing, along with Brexit, and her time as an MP.

Also appearing on the show is Amanda Barrie – who starred at the Marina in Cinderella back in December 2013.

The former star of Carry On Cleo, Coronation Street and Bad Girls played the Fairy Godmother in another Paul Holman Associates pantomime – maybe it will be discussed in the CBB house?

Lee Henderson, Chief Executive at the Marina Theatre, said:

“We always try to attract the biggest names to Lowestoft during our popular pantomimes and in our jam packed live programme of events throughout the year.

“It is fantastic to see that two of our former stars will be appearing on our television screens – in front of millions of people – over the next few weeks.

“Ann was here just a few days ago starring as our Empress of China in what turned out to be our most successful pantomime ever with Paul Holman Associates.

“Amanda Barrie was an extremely popular member of our cast back in December 2013 – and we will be keeping an eye on the programme to see how they both get on in the Celebrity Big Brother House.”

Tune in over the coming weeks to the programme to see how the pair get on with the other celebrities including Rachel Johnson and Ashley James.

This year, the programme is marking the 100th anniversary of women receiving the vote in the UK.

news images

The Reviews for Snow White are In!

Posted: 31 Dec 2017 - by Worthing Theatres

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was officially Worthing Theatre's fastest-ever selling pantomime! All of the reviews are in, with some saying it is the best pantomime they have ever seen! Don’t take our word for it though, below is all of the reviews we have received from press and bloggers. Did you see it? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Press Reviews

The finest and funniest pantomime that has ever graced the stage of the Pavilion Theatre
The Sussex Newspaper – Read Full Review Here

A hilarious and heart-warming pantomime that does the genre proud
Remotegoat – Read Full Review Here

Worthing Theatres have produced a truly wonderful Pantomime this year
Theatre South East – Read Full Review Here

4 ****
A fantastic show and an excellent night out with or without children to drag along; this panto does a lot to answer which is the fairest of them all.”
Brighton Argus – Read Full Review Here

It is absolutely true that this panto has to be at number one out of all the pantomimes I’ve seen
Worthing Herald – Read Full Review Here

Superior panto serves up big pop numbers with a Chesney Hawkes-sized helping of cheese
The Stage – Read Full Review Here

This is one of the best Pantomime performances I have seen in a very long time delivering everything you could want and more from a night out at a Panto! Snow White at the Pavilion Theatre is definitely the “One and only” Panto to see this festive season, highly recommended!
ReWriteThisStory – Read Full Review Here

We had a great night, and once again, Worthing Theatres put on a fabulous show. The singing was brilliant with some fab music choices, the dancing was perfect and the casting was spot on.”
Jennifer’s Little World – Read Full Review Here

I would highly recommend gathering up your family and heading down to Worthing for a fun festive evening for all to enjoy!
The Brightoner – Read Full Review Here

“Belly laughs abound, my 9 year old daughter was captivated. A great show in a lovely venue.” 
Here & Now Magazine (Read Full Review in magazine)

“A truly entertaining show with the one and only Chesney Hawkes as the Prince. We had an amazing night!”
Rachel Jess Blog – Read Full Review Here

news images

The X Factor and West End star Niki Evans joins Worthing panto line-up as the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Posted: 09 Jun 2017 - by Christopher Hall

Niki Evans, who shot to fame in the fourth series of The X Factor will star in Worthing Theatres family pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as the Wicked Queen this Christmas, alongside pop singer Chesney Hawkes and Swashbuckle (CBBC) duo Richard David-Caine and Joseph Elliot, with further casting to be announced.

Niki finished fourth in the fourth series of The X Factor winning critical acclaim for her seven octave vocal range and striking stage presence. Her renditions of classic power ballads brought her standing ovations from the audiences and acclaim from the four celebrity judges. Gaining a new legion of fans throughout the series, Simon Cowell said Niki’s version of the winner’s song was ‘by far the best he had ever heard’.

Following The X Factor Niki established herself as a confident and accomplished musician and musical theatre performer. She has toured the UK and Ireland as a vocalist and starred as Mrs Johnstone in the West End in the award-winning Blood Brothers, followed by a nationwide tour.  Other West-End credits include starring as Paulette in Legally Blonde which led to another UK tour, before re-joining the new cast of Blood Brothers once again. Recently, Niki returned to the West End to star in Cool Rider, the concert production of Grease 2 and has starred in a number of hit pantomimes across the UK.

As a solo performer Niki has performed all over the world alongside stars such as Kim Wilde and Heather Small and as special guest of Jasper Carrott for his famous Rock With Laughter Christmas shows at the Birmingham NEC. Most recently she performed alongside John Barrowman at the Symphony Hall.

Pantomime Producer Paul Holman said “I am thrilled Niki is joining the line-up in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Her West End experiences, stage presence and vocal talents make her a truly world class act. Niki will be a sparkling addition and a sure fire hit with audiences of all ages this Christmas.”

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs opens at the Pavilion Theatre, Worthing from Friday 1st December 2017 until Monday 1st January 2018. Tickets are available from the Worthing Theatres box office on 01903 206 206 and online here.

news images