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Sevenoaks panto to feature the first gender fluid dame role, played by Danny Beard

Pantomime producers in Sevenoaks believe their show this year features the first ever gender fluid dame.

Britain's Got Talent star Danny Beard, who's real name is Daniel Curtis, will star as the Spirit of London in Dick Whittington at the Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks later this month.

Though gender lines have traditionally been blurred for the part of the dame - a man, dressed as a woman, but who the audience know is a man - producers have created a gender fluid character, so not identifying as male or female.

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Danny Beard will star in the Sevenoaks panto at the Stag Theatreas the Spirit of London
Danny Beard will star in the Sevenoaks panto at the Stag Theatreas the Spirit of London

Danny, who was a BGT semi finalist in 2016, and starred in the theatre's panto last year, said: "Gender neutral is someone who doesn't conform to the stereotype or the rules that society traditionally set out in gender.

"I think Danny Beard the character is essentially gender neutral. This year it has been written in to the show which is really special.

"It has a platform which it wouldn't have. This is why I wanted to work with the pantomime producers - they wanted me to be a magical character.

"I think it is important that it is a hot topic at the moment. It is a reflection of what is going on in the world."

He added: "When I received the script I was really happy - it is down to the guys. I just thought it was fantastic.

"They have made a show that really has a story, with quite complex characters. It is a nod to it though, it isn't what the whole show is about it."

It will be the tenth year that the same producers have put on the panto at the theatre.

They hit the headlines two years ago when a caller to the theatre criticised the production for having a cast which was "too black".

Danny Beard will play what may be the first gender fluid part of the dame in panto in Sevenoaks
Danny Beard will play what may be the first gender fluid part of the dame in panto in Sevenoaks

For the part, Danny will create his trademark make-up, which takes hours to put on.

"I always do my own make-up," he said.

"I have a vision and it has always been a massive part of becoming Danny Beard. Danny Beard is an extension of who I am.

"I'm always the first person in the theatre because it takes so long."

Danny, who also works with the anti-bullying Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation as a result of being bullied at school, added: "I am so excited for panto. It is the hardest work I will do all year, in terms of the schedule. It is so gruelling. But you work with the team for six weeks - eight weeks if you count the rehearsals - and it becomes your whole world and your whole life. "

Dick Whittington is at the Stag Theatre, Sevenoaks from Friday, November 30 to Sunday, January 6, 2019. Kent children’s entertainer, Ant ’Silly Billy’ Payne, stars with baddie, Jasette Amos and a live gospel choir. For tickets from £15 visit sevenoakspanto.com

For pantos across Kent click here.

Producer Jamie Wilson, who has produced the panto since the Stag reopened in 2009, said: "Our audiences have come to expect a spectacular show, so every year we have to work hard to go one better that the previous year.

The panto at the Stag Theatre will be Dick Whittington
The panto at the Stag Theatre will be Dick Whittington

"Pantomime is a very traditional genre, but one of its central traditions is to be at the forefront of the issues of the age. Certain roles have explored cross dressing and gender reversal. The role of the panto dame - a man dressed as a woman, which dates back to at least the time of Shakespeare and probably earlier - is still a feature of pantomime today. The principal boy went through a long period of being played by a girl.

"This year at the Stag, Danny Beard is playing what would best be described as a blend of Fairy and Dame. By casting Danny, it allows me to write a script that sticks to the traditions of panto, but delivers them in a new way, which is exciting for me as a writer, but more importantly, entertaining for our audiences, who fell in love with Danny last year, when he played the Magical Mirror in Snow White."


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