Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Graham Clark
Features Writer
2:10 PM 2nd May 2021

It’s Pantomime Time In Liverpool This May. “Oh No It Isn’t” ... “Oh Yes It Is!”

Panto magic comes to Liverpool in May when Sleeping Beauty opens at The Auditorium at the M&S Bank Arena.

Bradford born Gareth Gates stars as the handsome prince in Sleeping Beauty.

The Pantomime runs from Saturday 29 May until Saturday 5 June 2021. The Yorkshire born actor is joined by Peppa Pig’s Emma Grace Arends as the Princess, while the cast also includes comedy favourite Bippo.

When the Evil Carabosse curses Princess Beauty to die on her 21st birthday, Beauty’s Fairy ensures she only falls into a deep sleep which can be broken with a kiss from her one true love.

A handsome prince must come to her rescue and save the day. Hopefully he will not get stuck in traffic as he crosses the Pennines on the M62!

Gareth Gates shot to fame at the age of 16 when he was runner up in the first series of ITV talent show Pop Idol in 2002. He went on to have three consecutive number one hits – the third a duet with Pop Idol winner Will Young - and has sold more than three-and-a-half million records in the UK alone.

In 2009 he took on the leading role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and his musical theatre career has also included Marius in the 25th anniversary world tour of Les Miserables, Warner Huntington III in Legally Blonde and Willard in Footloose.

His panto credits include Jack and the Beanstalk, Aladdin and Robin Hood, and several seasons as the Prince in Cinderella at venues including the New Wimbledon Theatre, Manchester Opera House and Nottingham Theatre Royal.

Gareth Gates says:
“It’s always a pleasure to perform for Liverpool audiences – people in the city really appreciate live theatre and they know how to have a good time.

“The last 12 months have been very difficult for everyone in the entertainment business, performers and audiences alike. I know I can’t wait to get back on stage, and I can promise this brilliant new production of Sleeping Beauty will be a real treat for all the family.”

Emma Grace Arends has enjoyed a career in film, television and theatre both here and in America and Australia.

She has appeared as Daisy in Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience, alongside David Mitchell and Jo Brand, and on stage in Peppa Pig’s Big Splash and Peppa Pig’s Surprise, while her previous panto roles include Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast.

Meanwhile Bippo the Clown has been a favourite on stage and screen for 20 years. His panto credits at the Auditorium include Silly Billy in Jack and the Beanstalk, Muddles in Snow White and Smee in Peter Pan.

The pantomime will be staged in a Covid-safe space which includes reduced seating capacity to allow social distancing, a one-way system around the venue, hand sanitiser stations and deep cleaning between each performance. The venue also has a ‘Book With Confidence’ policy in place, in the event of any changes to government guidance or local measures, full refunds will be given.

Saturday 29 May: 3pm and 7pm
Sunday 30 May: 1pm and 5pm
Monday 31 May: 3pm and 7pm
Tuesday 1 June: 3pm and 7pm
Wednesday 2 June: 3pm and 7pm
Thursday 3 June: 3pm and 7pm
Friday 4 June: 3pm and 7pm
Saturday 5 June: 11am

Silver Performances: £18-£19
Gold Performances: £25-£26

M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, L3 4FP