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Royal & Derngate announces panto casting for Dick Whittington and a festive run for The Gruffalo

Northampton’s Royal & Derngate is delighted to announce casting for its hilarious, fun-filled pantomime Dick Whittington which takes to the Derngate stage this Christmas, while picture book classic The Gruffalo comes to the Royal over the festive period.


In Dick Whittington, soap star (and Albert Square resident bad boy) Ricky Champ will be leading the cast as the dastardly King Rat. Children's favourite Phil Gallagher (Cbeebies’ Mister Maker) takes the role of the lovable Billy. Dame Dolly will be played by top Pantomime Dame, the award-winning Bob Golding, and the magical Fairy Bowbells will be portrayed by stage and screen actress Deborah Tracey. With a host of other fabulous performers to be announced, Dick Whittington is shaping up to be Northampton's best pantomime yet!


This year’s show marks the start of an exciting new partnership with award-winning pantomime producer Evolution Productions, three-time winner of Pantomime of The Year in the Great British Pantomime Awards over the last four years. Evolution Productions is a family business, run by husband and wife Paul Hendy and Emily Wood. They pride themselves in producing exceptional bespoke pantomimes, strong casting and genuinely funny scripts, and with an emphasis on the high quality production values and fantastic effects that Northampton audiences have grown to expect.


Written by Paul Hendy and directed by Emily Wood, Dick Whittington promises to be spectacular, top quality, entertainment with lavish sets, and a hilarious script.


While Royal & Derngate will not be producing its own Christmas show in the Royal auditorium this year, the theatre is pleased to be presenting the much-loved children’s show The Gruffalo on the Royal stage over the festive period. Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler offers songs, laughs and monstrous fun for children aged 3 and up and their grown-ups to enjoy.


Royal & Derngate Chief Executive Jo Gordon said: “All our teams from marketing to front of house, stage management to technical are truly excited about the new partnership and looking forward to working alongside Evolution Productions on this year’s spectacular pantomime Dick Whittington. And with The Gruffalo alongside it, we’ve got a fantastic festive offering for all ages. After a difficult year, we understand the importance of spending time together at Christmas. So we can’t wait to get back to doing what we do best and provide a destination for many Northamptonshire families to make the festive season extra special!”


Panto star Phil Gallagher commented: “I have very many happy memories of launching the Mister Maker and The Shapes LIVE Tour at Royal & Derngate in 2015 and I can't wait to work with the team again. I am so happy to be spending Panto season in Northampton...and it is going to be an amazing show! 


Evolution’s Emily Wood, Director and Producer of Dick Whittington added: "After such a challenging year we all need something to cheer us up! Dick Whittington is the classic rags to riches story, and shows us that we can all be heroes! We can't wait to bring some spectacle, magic and laughter to Northampton this Christmas! It really will be the perfect festive treat for all your family."


Dick Whittington will run from Thursday 9 December to Sunday 2 January while The Gruffalo can be seen from Monday 13 December until Sunday 2 January. For more information and to book tickets, go to or call Box Office on 01604 624811.


Please note that ticket buyers who had booked for the postponed 2020 performances of Dick Whittington have been contacted directly and moved into these new dates.


* A charge of £3.50 applies for all transactions of £20 and over. Does not apply to Groups, Members or Disabled Patrons, and is per-transaction, not per-ticket.

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