Panto The Theatre

Overview

The seeds have been sown for a magical Christmas as Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts.  Writer-producer Peter Duncan is to play his first ever panto Dame, opposite former Sugababes singer Amelle Berrabah and Connor Byrne, instantly recognisable to TV audiences from the Tracy Beaker series and the Dumping Ground

Giant Blunderbore is in a terrible rage. He shouts from above threatening to eat any villager who won’t pay their rent. Poor Dame Trott has to sell her precious cow Buttercup and sends her son Jack to market to get the best price he can. Jack is in love with Jill, the Squire's daughter and is easily fooled by the Giant's henchman Fleshcreepy who steals Buttercup for a worthless bag of beans. Will Jack be the hero and save the village from the human chomping ogre, only the magical Garden Fairy knows the answer to that.

Come and see this year's planet saving pantomime packed with songs, laughter and great spectacle. Warning: Don’t upset the Giant especially when he’s hungry!

This is the fourth year running that Lighthouse has co-produced its homegrown pantomime with Duncan Reeves Productions, the company headed by Olivier Award-nominated actor and TV presenter Peter Duncan and musical director Darren Reeves.

 FULL PRICE TICKETS  ( including £1.75 booking fee)

Peak: £29.25, £26.25, £24.25
Standard: £28.25, £25.25, £21.25
Off-Peak: £26.25, £24.25, £20.25
Preview: £23.25, £20.25, £16.25

To make a booking for groups of 10 or more please contact the Ticket Office who can assist you and help manage your booking. Discounts are available for Groups of 10+ ( £4 off excluding peak)  and 50+ (£5 off excluding peak).

RELAXED PERFORMANCE  Monday 16th December 5.30pm.  Please call Ticket Office to book your seats

Perfect for anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed performance environment – including those with an autism spectrum condition or learning disability.

What's different?

  • the lights in the audience will be up so that it's not too dark
  • you can make noise during the show
  • you can come and go as you please
  • if you need a break there are chill out areas
  • We make small changes to the lights and sound (such as taking out strobes lights) so that the performance is more accessible if you have sensory sensitivities.

This half term Peter wants your plastic for giant polymer panto pariah!

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Giant problems don’t come much bigger than plastic – it’s choking our oceans and according to the WWF by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.

Many of us are far more conscious about our use of plastics than ever before and people power has been instrumental in persuading governments to take action to tackle the problem.

But now more help is at hand as Panto Power is ready to weigh in with community action.

Peter Duncan, the former Blue Peter man and committed climate change activist who is co-producing and playing the Dame in Jack and the Beanstalk at Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, wants to build a Giant out of unwanted plastic.

“We need to show just how terrible the Giant is and at the end of the show we find out he’s so bad he’s made of plastic,” explains Peter, who has written the script with a strong eco-message. “It spoils nothing to know the Giant gets his comeuppance and having him made of plastic will make the boys and girls hiss and boo even harder.”

He wants plastic of all shapes and sizes that he can use to fashion his ultimate polymer panto pariah, but unwanted lilos, beach balls and brightly coloured plastic would be perfect.

Peter will be in Poole to begin rehearsals from next Monday, 28 October, and is inviting people to bag up their unwanted plastic and bring it to Lighthouse. Bags can be left at the Artists’ Entrance reception in Seldown Lane until lunchtime on Friday 2 November.

“It’s not often I think plastic is fantastic, but just for a few days it’s not quite so bad,” laughs Peter, adding that all plastic – including the Giant – will be properly recycled at the end.

Oh yes it will!

  • Jack and the Beanstalk opens at Lighthouse on Thursday 12 December and runs until Sunday 5 January. Tickets and information on 01202 280000, lighthousepoole.co.uk.

Peter sows the seeds of success

The seeds have been sown for a magical Christmas as Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, is delighted to announce Jack and the Beanstalk as this year’s homegrown family pantomime.

Peter Duncan

This is the fourth year running that Lighthouse has co-produced its own pantomime with Duncan Reeves Productions, the company headed by Olivier Award-nominated actor and TV presenter Peter Duncan and musical director Darren Reeves.

And Peter is already hard at work on the script as he feeds the seeds in his very own greenhouse.

“I’m really looking forward to creating another great pantomime at Lighthouse – Jack and the Beanstalk is a terrific story and incredibly versatile, there’ll be lots of songs and laughter; a real spectacle for all the family,” promises the former Blue Peter presenter who recently earned rave reviews in the title role of The Dame, his daughter Katie’s poignant backstage monologue.

Peter has revealed the script will have an environmental theme inspired by the global movement led by 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg that saw 1.6 million students in 120 countries take part in strikes last month to press the world’s politicians to act on climate change.

“What they achieved was amazing and the movement continues to grow so I’m very happy to highlight the message – who knew pantomime could play a part in saving the planet?!”

Giant Blunderbore is in a terrible rage as he roars from above and threatens to eat any villager who doesn’t pay their rent. To meet the Giant’s demands Poor Dame Trott is forced to sell her precious cow Buttercup and sends her son Jack to market to get the best price he can. But Jack is in love with the Squire’s daughter Jill and is easily fooled by the Giant’s henchman Fleshcreepy who steals Buttercup for a worthless bag of beans.

Only the magical Garden Fairy knows if Jack can make amends and become a hero by saving the village from the hungry, angry Giant. Find out by coming to see this year’s planet-saving pantomime at Lighthouse. But be warned: whatever you don’t upset the Giant… especially when he’s hungry!

“Lighthouse is thrilled to be renewing its partnership with Duncan Reeves Productions,” says Chief Executive Elspeth McBain. “Dick Whittington was such a hit last year with audiences, as were Cinderella and Aladdin before it so we’re looking forward to creating an even more magical and fun-filled show this year.”

Dick Whittington star Chris Jarvis, who also co-wrote and directed the show, won Best Principal Boy at the Great British Pantomime Awardson 28 April in a star studded ceremony presided over by host Christopher Biggins at the New Wimbledon Theatre.

One of Britain’s best-loved pantomimes, Jack and the Beanstalk first appeared 285 years ago as ‘The Story of Jack Spriggins and the Enchanted Bean’, a Christmas fairy tale by Dick Merryman, and can be enjoyed in 40 performances at Lighthouse from Thursday 12 December to Sunday 5 January. Tickets on sale now at the box office, by phone on 01202 280000 and online at www.lighthousepoole.co.uk.

The roots of Jack and the Beanstalk

The much-loved story of the poor boy and his widowed mother whose fortunes are changed forever by some magic beans and a giant’s treasure, Jack & the Beanstalk is a pantomime staple.

Long before the first recognised pantomimes there were theatrical Christmas entertainments and harlequinades, among them famous actor manager David Garrick’s 1773 Drury Lane production of Jack the Giant Killer inspired by a fairy tale that had appeared three years earlier as ‘The Story of Jack Spriggins and the Enchanted Bean’ in a publication called Round About Our Coal Fire: Or Christmas Entertainments.

Jack is described as a “dirty, lazy tatter-de-mallon” who lives in a hovel with his grandmother whose magic bean he steals, plants and watches grow into a tall stalk. When the grandmother turns into a toad she chases Jack up the beanstalk where he finds an enchanted tavern and is granted the power to possess all the pleasures he desires to defeat the giant GogMagog, whose name apparently amalgamates Gog and Magog, the fabled giant guardians of the City of London.

Even then the story spoke to the much older tradition of English folk tales that featured the archetypal hero called Jack. In the legend of ‘Jack the Giant Killer’, a story that possibly dates ack to the Vikings, Jack is a Cornish farmer’s son who lived close to Lands End where a giant was terrorising local farms and stealing cattle. To stop him Jack dug a pit and covered it with sticks then lured the giant to his doom by blowing his horn.

Over time the story developed and in 1807 was published as a sixpenny booklet The History of Mother Twaddle and the Marvellous Achievements of her Son Jack, in which the Dame finds a sixpence and sends her son to market to buy a goose. However, Jack is swindled by a pedlar and ends up with a ‘magic’ bean that he plants and in the morning climbs up the beanstalk to a giant’s castle where a pretty servant girl drugs her master, leaving Jack to cut off his head, send for his mother and marry the maid.

Two years later the Lyceum Theatre in London staged a version of the story although the first actual pantomime is widely considered to have been the 1819 Drury Lane production of Jack and the Beanstalk or Harlequin and the Ogre written by Charles Dibben. Jack was played by Eliza Povey who is said to have refused to climb the beanstalk, leaving it to a young boy called Jack Sullivan whose stage debut proved to be only the first rung on a ladder to success that saw him achieve great fame by the 1830s as Silvain, principal dancer at the Academie Royale in Paris.  

The characters and where they came from

Jack

Our hero. His name never changes – the clue’s in the title! The name dates back to traditional folk stories in which a hero called Jack defeats a Giant near Land's End then goes on to have a variety of adventure throughout Cornwall and Wales. In the pantomime Jack’s surname is nearly always Trott, although on occasion it has also been Durden.

The Dame
Invariably known as Dame Trott – a ‘Trot’ was another Old English word for ‘Hag’ – sometimes she is known as Dame Durden. The legendary Dan Leno music hall star and pantomime Dame made his debut as Durden in 1886 at the Surrey Theatre and played Dame Trott at Drury Lane in 1899.

The Giant
The villain. His traditional name of Blunderbore is perhaps an inspiration for the Harry Potter character Dumbledore. In the early 18th century plays of Jack the Giant Killer, Jack kills Cormoran, the Giant of Cornwall, before being captured by a giant called Blunderbore who he strangles. In 1899, soon after the start of the Boer War in what is now South Africa the giant was renamed Blunderboer to the delight of audiences of patriotic Londoners. In modern times the Giant’s henchmen is usually known as Fleshcreep. The Giant’s catchphrase: “Fee-Fie-Fo-Fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman” owes much to Shakespeare’s line from King Lear: “Fee, fo and fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman.”

The Comic
Usually Simple Simon, from the nursery rhyme about the pie man, but sometimes known as Silly Billy, Tommy Tucker, Simple Sammy, Muggles or Miffins.

The Cow
Although names such as Daffodil, Buttercup, Connie, Mabel, Constance, Jessie, Ethel and Matilda have been recorded, the traditional name for the cow is Daisy.

Principal Girl
Unless she is written as the Squire’s daughter, in which case she is known as Jill from the nursery rhyme about the girl and boy who went up a hill, the Principal Girl doesn’t have a traditional name.

The Squire/King, The Fairy
There are no traditional names for these supporting characters, although they always feature in the story.

Get growing - Panto goes green as beanstalk flourishes

PeterDuncanBeanstalk

“Get growing!” That’s the message from Peter Duncan, writer and co-producer of Poole’s family pantomime Jack & the Beanstalk, who has been nurturing his beanstalks for several weeks and they’re already seven feet tall… and growing!

Free packets of beans are available at Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, for budding young gardeners to grow their own beanstalks in time for panto this year with a special prize to be presented by the cast to the grower of the tallest beanstalk.

“It’s not too late but we have to move quickly as time is running out to get those beans planted and growing,” says Peter, who was at Lighthouse last Friday for the auditions for the young company.

Peter is already working on a brand-new script for this year’s show, but has revealed it will have an environmental theme inspired by his long standing interest in green issues and his visit to the Extinction Rebellion protests in London earlier this year, as well as last month’s Glastonbury festival to perform The Dame, his daughter Katie’s poignant backstage monologue.

“Jack & the Beanstalk is a story of our time. The beans have come to symbolise our connection to Nature and the Giant can be seen as representing all those that resist the shift towards renewables, whether that’s individual climate change deniers or big corporations continuing to burn fossil fuels.”

Peter, who joined Friends of the Earth in the mid-1970s, has been energised by the global movement led by 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg that saw 1.6 million students in 120 countries take part in strikes to press the world’s politicians to act on climate change.

“Green issues are very dear to my heart, they always have been, and I’m very taken by the way that Greta Thunberg can speak and the whole world listens. These issues are very mainstream now in a way that was impossible to imagine forty years ago.

“The panto will have a scene in which the school kids rebel against the Dame and her old-fashioned lessons and walk out in protest. It will be a funny scene, but it’s a way of bringing elements of the real world into our imaginary panto world.”

For Peter, who grew up surrounded by panto paraphernalia – his parents were producers – this is just the latest evolution of the Jack & the Beanstalk story.

“The great panto themes are about things we all recognise – love, loss, poverty, success – but the particularly interesting thing about Jack & the Beanstalk is the way it teaches us to look after what we have – do that and we can have a good harvest.”

 

This is the fourth year running that Lighthouse has co-produced its own pantomime with Duncan Reeves Productions, the company headed by Olivier Award-nominated actor and TV presenter Peter Duncan and musical director Darren Reeves.

Jack & the Beanstalk can be enjoyed in 40 performances at Lighthouse from Thursday 12 December to Sunday 5 January. Tickets on sale now at the box office, by phone on 01202 280000 and online at www.lighthousepoole.co.uk.

 

Cast announced

Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, continues to cultivate the Christmas magic having finalised the cast for this year’s homegrown family pantomime Jack & the Beanstalk.

Writer-producer Peter Duncan is to play his first ever panto Dame, opposite former Sugababes singer Amelle Berrabah and Connor Byrne, instantly recognisable to TV audiences from the Tracy Beaker seriesand The Dumping Ground.

This is the fourth year running that Lighthouse has co-produced its own pantomime with Duncan Reeves Productions, the company headed by Olivier Award-nominated actor and TV presenter Peter Duncan and musical director Darren Reeves.

The cast:

Amelle Berrabah (Fairy). Replaced original Sugababes member Mutya Buena in 2005 until the band’s split in 2011, then featured on Tinchy Stryder’s number one single ‘Never Leave You’ and appeared in celebrity gymnastics show Tumble in 2014. Amelle made her musical theatre debut earlier this year in Club Tropicana.

Connor Byrne (Squire Longshanks). Best known as Mike Milligan in The Story of Tracy Beaker, Tracy Beaker Returns and The Dumping Ground, Connor’s breakthrough role was as Rob Sharpe in London’s Burning and continues to appear as private detective Geoff in Emmerdale.

Peter Duncan (Dame Trott/Writer/Producer). Former Blue Peter presenter, Peter Duncan returns to Lighthouse to play The Dame in panto for the first time. Earlier this year he won widespread acclaim in his daughter Katie’s play, The Dame, about a music hall legend with a dark past.

Jay Worthy (Fleshcreepy/Director). With stage credits that include Little Shop of Horrors, Boogie Nights, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Oliver, Jay also appeared in Cinderella at Lighthouse in 2017.

Alex Lodge (Jack Trott). Having made his West End debut in The Book of Mormon, Alex’s credits include Romance Romance, Thom Southerland's Titanic in Toronto, a UK tour of Saturday Night Fever and the Union Theatre[‘s sell-out revival of Closer to Heaven.

Bethan-Wyn Davies (Jill Longshanks). Classically trained, Bethan-Wyn began her career with an MA in Musical Theatre at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and is about to release her debut EP ‘Should’ve Known Better’.

Jack & the Beanstalk can be enjoyed in 40 performances at Lighthouse from Thursday 12 December to Sunday 5 January. Tickets on sale now at the box office, by phone on 01202 280000 and online at www.lighthousepoole.co.uk.

Ticket Information

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