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Beauty and the Beast announced as Exeter Northcott panto 2019 – a first for the theatre

Photo of Daniel Buckroyd and Steve Bennett

Exeter Northcott Theatre has announced that this year’s pantomime will be an ambitious new production of the classic love story Beauty and the Beast.

The famous tale of a handsome prince who is transformed into a hideous beast and can only be saved by ‘true love’s kiss’ is set to delight audiences this Christmas.

Artistic and Executive Director Daniel Buckroyd is set to write and direct the show, the first time it has been staged at the theatre.

Daniel’s previous panto productions have won plaudits, with five nominations at last year’s Great British Panto Awards, including one for best script.

Daniel Buckroyd said: “I‘m a huge fan of pantomime – the drama, the music, the silly jokes, the theatrical magic – and I love the way it can bring families and friends together at Christmas – so I’m thrilled to be continuing the tradition of great Northcott pantos with Beauty and the Beast.”

The production follows the fortunes of Belle, the most beautiful girl in Paris, as she bumps into Prince Valentin in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

Love is in the air until an evil enchantress turns up and suddenly things get a bit hairy – literally hairy!

Exeter favourite Steve Bennett returns to the Northcott stage for his 22nd professional pantomime, playing Belle’s father, Monsieur Marzipan.

He joins Belle’s sister Soufflé and Dame Betty Bonbon as they team up to free Belle from the clutches of the Beast and save the family business.

The show will be packed full of comedy, romance and music, and features a stunning set and costumes.

It is billed as a “tale as old as pantomime” and promises to be “a Christmas treat for all the family and a memory to last all year”.

As they cheer for good to triumph over evil, uniting Belle and her lost prince, audiences will also discover whether Dame Betty will finally find the ‘sugar daddy’ she’s been waiting for.

Steve Bennett said:  “I’m delighted to have been asked by Daniel to return to the Northcott panto.”

“It is going to be something a bit different this year – a frock-free Christmas – and I am delighted to be taking on the challenge of playing Belle’s dad.”

The Northcott earned a reputation for home-grown Christmas pantomime until 2010, reviving the tradition again in 2017 with Dick Whittington and last year with Jack and the Beanstalk.

To mark the announcement of Beauty and the Beast, which opens on Saturday, November 30 a new early bird offer has been created.

Tickets are priced £10 to £29 – customers who buy before the end of May will be upgraded free to a higher priced seat in the next band up.

There is a Family and Friends offer for bookings of three or more, which gives £3 off per ticket, plus the 11th ticket is free for groups of more than 10.

The early bird schools offer is £8 a ticket (£9 after half term).

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