A panto star who’s worked with the likes of Peter Kay, Joe Pasquale and the Chuckle Brothers will help Colwyn Bay get switched on to Christmas.
Stuart Loughland and fellow cast members from the production of Dick Whittington at Theatr Colwyn will be the guests of honour for the Christmas extravaganza complete with all the trimmings.
The town’s big lights switch-on on Friday, November 30 will signal the start of the festive season in Colwyn Bay. There will be five hours of fun-filled activities on the town’s Station and Seaview Roads Friday, all organised by the Colwyn Business Improvement District (BID).
Colwyn BID – the biggest in the UK – which includes Old Colwyn, Colwyn Bay, Mochdre and Rhos-on-Sea – is a not-for-profit social enterprise where firms pay a levy and the cash raised is used for projects to increase trade.
The event will run from 4pm until 9pm and feature a Christmas Fair of 16 wooden chalets selling local produce, crafts and tasty seasonal goodies.
As well as the appearances by characters from the pantomime, there will also be a giant snow globe, a talent show and, of course, Father Christmas and his Grotto.
It is being organised for Colwyn BID by Anna Openshaw who promises it will be the biggest and best event they have ever done.
She said: “There will be a magical atmosphere on the streets of Colwyn Bay with everything you need for a Christmas street party, carols, mulled wine, hot drinks and lots of seasonal treats.
“Santa will be there in his Grotto and he’s keen to meet as many children as possible down at the Station.
“This is just the first of what will be a packed diary of Christmas-themed activities for December and it will kick off our festive season in style.”
The Snow Globe promises to be a major attraction – a giant version of those traditional Christmas decorations with snow falling on a traditional scene and one you can step into to be transported into a magical winter wonderland.
Another will be the appearance of Dame Dotty Dumpling, better known as Stuart Loughland, of Magic Light Productions, and other characters from the cast of Dick Whittington who will give event-goers a taste of what to look forward to at this year’s panto at Theatr Colwyn from December 22 to January 5.
As well as Stuart there will be Libby Edwards, also of Magic Light Productions, who will once again be playing this year’s baddie – Queen Ra.
Also taking part in the action packed adventure will be Steve Bloor as Dick Whittington, fresh from his sell out show at the Edinburgh Fringe.
The cast will include Lukas Kirkby as Alderman Fitzwarren and Rhiannon Petrou playing the part of Alice Fitzwarren and Stephen Owen as Otto.
The Pearl Shaw dancers will return to Theatr Colwyn with their spectacular routines and from BBC’s Chuckle Brother’s live theatre shows.
Libby said: “Panto is a magical time of the year and often the first time our younger audience members may walk into a theatre so hopefully we will inspire a younger generation of theatre goers.”
Stuart, who lives in Colwyn Bay, has worked with stage comedy legends like Peter Kay, Joe Pasquale and the Chuckle Brothers and this is his eighth year as the panto dame at Theatr Colwyn.
He said: “I can’t believe how long I’ve been doing the panto in Colwyn Bay but I love it and I’m looking forward to being there for the lights switch-on.
“We’ve got a lot of the team coming down in costume so that will; all add to what will be a brilliant atmosphere and we’ll be performing a little number from the show as well as doing a bit of magic.
“In the pantomime, we will be transporting the audience to London town where they will find out if the streets are really and enjoy a visual feast of costumes and set, magic and illusions, funny script and multi-talented cast.
“We’re so lucky in Colwyn Bay to have such a great little theatre and it’s just the place for a traditional panto.
“It’s lovely to hear people say that we’re part of their Christmas experience to come to the panto and I just love it. Libby and I just love performing.”
Stuart and Libby also have an illusion act called Safire.
Highlights of their career include receiving an invitation from illusionists Siegfried and Roy to appear in their World Magic Show at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, and also performing at the 20th Century Fox Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.
They have also performed in a Royal Variety Performance at The Prince of Wales Theatre in London’s West End.
Colwyn BID manager Cheryl Williams added: “We’re looking forward to seeing lots of excited children and their parents at the Christmas lights switch on, along with the cast of Dick Whittington and the man of the moment, Santa Claus himself.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun with lots of activities to enjoy and will help us get in the Christmas spirit. Oh yes it will!”
For more information on this year’s Panto and to book tickets call (01492) 577888/872000 or visit www.theatrcolwyn.co.uk