Festive panto fun arrives early in Leeds

Caption: The cast of this year's Leeds Carriageworks pantomime production of 'Sleeping Beauty'-(L-R)-Sarah Smith, Jez Edwards, Rob Stevens and Sean Smith.

Christmas came early to an ancient abbey in the city this month, as the stars of this year’s Carriageworks Theatre, Leeds pantomime gathered for the official launch.

The cast of 'Sleeping Beauty' made an appearance at Kirkstall Abbey to unveil the show, which will run at the Carriageworks Theatre from Friday 6 December 2013 until Saturday 11 January 2014.

In the line-up for this year’s production of 'Sleeping Beauty' are brother and sister singing duo Sean and Sarah Smith of ‘Same Difference’ fame and former CBBC presenter Jez Edwards, who is making his fifth consecutive appearance in the Carriageworks Theatre pantomime.

Hand-picked by producer Paul Holman Associates, Sean and Sarah, who were finalists in the popular TV show ‘X Factor’, said they were really looking forward to performing in pantomime in Leeds.

Sean, who will star as Prince Valiant, said: "We were brought up with panto, and I am really excited to be starring in this year’s production of 'Sleeping Beauty' at the Carriageworks Theatre.

"Leeds is a big cosmopolitan city, with some really beautiful places like the Dales close by, and hopefully we will get the chance to experience as much as possible during our time here."

Revealing they were on the lookout for somewhere to live in the city during their stay, Sarah, who is taking on the role of Lilac Fairy, said the show would be 'energetic, hilarious and glamorous'.

Sarah added: "Panto is such a brilliant Christmas tradition, and one of the best bits for me is seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces, especially on Christmas Eve.

"Sleeping Beauty really is great fun for the family, and this year we have a very big surprise in the show that I am sure the crowd will love."

Also ready to tread the boards at the Carriageworks Theatre once again is firm favourite Jez Edwards, who revealed that the enthusiasm of the Leeds crowd was one of the main reasons why he has returned for another year.

Jez, who this year will be playing Pickles said: "It is an enormous privilege and honour for me to be asked back to perform in the Carriageworks Theatre pantomime this year in Sleeping Beauty.

"I grew up with panto, and it was always my dream to be in one, so to star in five here in Leeds is a dream!

"We always receive such a warm welcome from the audience here and you can always guarantee that every show will be different, which, as a performer, is exactly what you want.

"My character, Pickles, will certainly need the support of the crowd as he continues to be unlucky in love, but lucky in laughter, and with some really great singers in the show this year, I can’t wait for it to begin."

Also appearing in 'Sleeping Beauty' at Leeds City Council’s Carriageworks Theatre on Millennium Square, will be Lisa Kelsey (Fairy Carabosse) and Rob Stevens (Nurse Katy Cough-Drop) who will be joined by the SLP College and Junior Academy.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills said:

"The Carriageworks Theatre pantomime continues to be one of the real highlights in the city’s Christmas events calendar and this year’s production of Sleeping Beauty promises to be one of the best shows ever.

"The line-up is again fantastic, offering something that all the family can enjoy. This really is a show not to be missed and I would ask anyone who is interested in attending to book their tickets as soon as possible."

Tickets are now available for 'Sleeping Beauty' which runs from Friday 6 December 2013 to Saturday 11 January 2014 at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds. Book online at www.carriageworkstheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 0113 224 3801.

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk