Jack and The Beanstalk, which featured a star-studded cast headed by local hero, Joe Tracini proved a panto full of heart and loved by young and old.
Just under 50,000 people saw the show, making this year’s Norwich Theatre pantomime become its highest-grossing pantomime ever.
With 31 sell-out performances, Norwich Theatre welcomed audiences from far and wide, with audiences members spanning from 15 different countries, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, France, Germany, Netherlands, Malta, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, USA and of course the UK.
The panto also won glowing praise from audiences and critics alike thanks to a strong cast starring alongside Joe, including Rufus Hound playing King Nigel, Amanda Henderson as Pat the Cow, Dayle Hudson as Nightshade, Linda John-Pierre as Fairy Fullobeans, Sally Hodgkiss as Princess Jill and panto stalwart Richard Gauntlett playing Dame Trott.
The local links were cemented with another stunning set from the Lowestoft-based Scenic Projects, who have a long-standing relationship with Norwich Theatre.
It also won strong reviews, with Louisa Baldwin, Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News saying, ‘The Norwich Theatre Royal panto quite literally reached new heights this year with dazzling special effects and huge musical numbers.’ Lu Greer from Reviews Hub called it ‘an evolution of the classic panto’. West End Best Friend describe the show as perfectly capturing ‘the essence of panto and will leave you feeling festive and full of love.’
As well as a creative success, the theatre raised more than £12,000 in its Christmas Appeal. This year’s Christmas Appeal which this year raised money for Norwich Theatre’s Theatre of Possibility programme. Fundraising included a wishing well in the Theatre Royal foyer, and contributions from the sale of merchandise, including 924 cow toys, 85 mince pies and 788 hot ciders!
Theatre of Possibility is a programme of work dedicated to supporting the wellbeing of young people experiencing severe challenges in their life. The programme helps them find their voice and confidence by using theatre and creativity to encourage communication and positive relationships and overcome anxiety and isolation.
Meanwhile, the 2023/24 pantomime has been announced as Sleeping Beauty. An early bird discount is available with 15% off tickets until 28 Feb. The show promises to be a similar extravaganza with stunning sets, musical hits, fabulous costumes and exciting special effects to give audiences all the razzmatazz they could wish for.
Stephen Crocker, Chief Executive & Creative Director, said:
“We were dertermined to make this year’s panto bigger, better, more joyous and more welcoming than ever before and it has been fantastic to welcome so many people! With audiences coming from many different countries, it’s even more lovely to see that visitors to the region are taking part in the Great British tradition of pantomime.
“Norwich is one of the few theatre venues that produces its own panto. We begin every time with a blank sheet of paper and are in control of the story we tell and how we tell it. One of things audiences have responded positively to in particular is the modern way in which we told the traditional story of Jack and the Beanstalk: without ending in a traditional love story, and with a message of female self-empowerment.
“This has been our highest performing panto at the box office ever, and really highlights a shift from past apprehension about going out, to having fun together often with several generations of family. It’s been very special.”