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Outdoor theatre in Westgate Gardens, Canterbury for the first time with Ben Roddy, Marlowe Theatre panto dame

One of the county's most popular dames is taking to the stage this summer to provide some outdoor laughs for the first time.

Actor Ben Roddy - known to many across Kent as the dame in the Marlowe Theatre's panto every year - decided to put on the series of al fresco performances in his home town of Canterbury after more than a year when the entertainment industry has been unable to stage live shows.

Ben Roddy will star in The Hound of the Baskervilles in Westgate Gardens
Ben Roddy will star in The Hound of the Baskervilles in Westgate Gardens

It will be the first outdoor theatre staged at the Westgate Gardens for as long as he can remember.

The Hound of the Baskervilles will see Ben leading the cast, who begin rehearsals next week, in the comedy spoof.

"It is an incredibly funny play and now is the time for funny," he said.

"I was walking through Westgate Gardens and I was thinking one of the best things about Canterbury is its beautiful public spaces. It would be wonderful to put a play on there. It felt like a good time to do something in my home town.

"Westgate Gardens feels like the heart of Canterbury in many ways - the gateway of Canterbury."

Ben Roddy as the Marlowe Theatre's panto dame
Ben Roddy as the Marlowe Theatre's panto dame

He added that the production has had support from a number of local organisations to make it happen.

"Loads of people have rallied to make this possible - Canterbury council, the Marlowe, Canterbury BID, Pharon, Walker Construction, Barretts and Paul Roberts," he said. "It’s been a real team effort."

The comedy is based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most celebrated Sherlock Holmes story. Join the world’s finest detective, his faithful side-kick Doctor Watson and a host of far-fetched characters in the masterpiece of mystery, suspense and a bloody big dog.

The show will run at Westgate Gardens in Canterbury from Thursday, July 22 until Sunday, August 1 at 7pm.

Book tickets at £19.50 at marlowetheatre.com or call the box office on 01227 787787.

For more entertainments news across Kent click here.

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