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Former Coronation Street star Steven Arnold to lead cast of Sittingbourne panto

By Ellis Stephenson

Preparations are underway – oh yes they are – for this year’s pantomime at Swallows Leisure Centre, starring one of a TV soap’s most famous faces.

Among the cast for Jack and the Beanstalk is Steven Arnold, who played Coronation Street favourite Ashley Peacock for 14 years.

The 43-year-old, a veteran of 15 pantomimes who has gone on to have a successful stage and film career, also appeared on Dancing on Ice in 2011.

Stars from Jack and the Beanstalk, Olivia McLaughin, Steven Arnold, Tom Balmont and Katie Burke. Picture: Sean Aidan
Stars from Jack and the Beanstalk, Olivia McLaughin, Steven Arnold, Tom Balmont and Katie Burke. Picture: Sean Aidan

He will be starring as the giant’s evil henchman Fleshcreep in the Sittingbourne panto.

Joining him on stage at The Swallows will be Katie Burke, who is returning after playing Belle in Beauty and the Beast last Christmas.

And for the third year in a row, resident dame Tilly Trott will be played by Harry Moore.

The role of Jack will be filled by Tom Balmont and Olivia McLaughlin is going to be in character as Fairy Beansprout.

The cast will be joined by youngsters from the Kent School of Dance, which meets at The Swallows.

The panto kicks off in December. Picture: Sean Aidan
The panto kicks off in December. Picture: Sean Aidan

Director of Trio Entertainment, which is producing the show, Kevin Brown, said: “We’ve being doing pantomimes at Sittingbourne since 2011 and Jack and the Beanstalk seemed to be one that we haven’t done before.

“We haven’t started fully rehearsing yet but we’ve had a script read through and we’ve been through the songs. There’s something for everyone. We’ve got some older songs as well as some pop songs.

“We’re trying to keep it as something for the community and that the whole family can enjoy.

“It’s nice seeing families come out of the show after two and a half hours with smiles on their faces.

"The way we’ve done it is by buying everything like costumes and sets so we can spread the cost over a few years.”

'We’re trying to keep it as something for the community and that the whole family can enjoy' - Kevin Brown

Curtains are to go up for the first time on Friday, December 14.

People will be able to watch the magic unfold, with afternoon and evening shows on most day, up until Christmas Eve on Monday, December 24.

Tickets for the eighth annual pantomime are on sale now priced between £8.50 to £12.50.

To book, call the Swallows Leisure Centre reception on 01795 420420 or visit www.trio-entertainment.co.uk/sittingbourne-panto

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