First steps to fame for young cast of Grand Theatre's pantomime

Cinderella, Olivia Birchenough, with some of the juvenile cast of the Grand pantomime
Cinderella, Olivia Birchenough, with some of the juvenile cast of the Grand pantomime
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Young stars of the future have their final chances to shine in this year’s Grand Theatre pantomime Cinderella this weekend.

The annual festive spectacular has featured dancers from the Barbara Jackson Theatre Arts Centre since 1999.

The dance school’s principal Lorraine Hill acts as the panto’s company manager and her daughter Katie choreographs - making the family show a real family affair.

Among previous teams from Barbara Jackson’s is Coronation Street actress Lucy Fallon, 21, who first danced as a tot in the panto 14 years ago, and was a principal dancer in the 2013 and 2014 pantos Peter Pan and Sleeping Beauty.

Lorraine said: “It’s been incredible to work with the Grand for so many years, we’re like family.

“Giving the students their first professional performance is so valuable to them, their faces light up when they know they are going to be part of an adventure that could lead them on as it did Lucy.

“The students are already asking me about being part of next year’s big new production Beauty And The Beast.”

Theatre marketing manager Andrew Howard paid tribute to the youngsters’ dedication and skills.

“We all love working with Lorraine and Katie at the Barbara Jackson Theatre Arts Centre,” he said. “Having the privilege to sit in on the auditions and seeing such young talent being selected you can see how much it means to them.”

Grand panto veteran Steve Royle, who’s completing his 15th year in the show, also knows how important the opportunity is to youngsters.

“My children, Lucy, Rosie and Daisy have all performed alongside me at the Grand, which, as a parent is incredible humbling and exciting at the same time,” he said.

“All of them have learned their craft from Lorraine and Katie at Barbara Jackson Theatre Arts Centre, an incredible start for a young performer.”

Much of the Grand’s fundraising supports year-round theatre opportunities for young people.


Grand Theatre, Blackpool

Until Sunday

01253 290190