There’s no place like home…
It’s not Kansas and it’s not Albert Square – instead the yellow brick road is leading to Peterborough’s Cresset theatre this week as the panto starts it's run from December 14 - 31.
The TV soap’s popular character Heather, sees former Bretton resident Cheryl Fergison, back in the boro for the annual panto proving there really is ‘no place like home’!
Cheryl is starring as Good Witch Glinda in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and along with the rest of the cast she’s been getting reacquainted with her home town in the build up to the show. It's been a busy few weeks getting ready – there’s a Tin Man to be oiled, a Cowardly Lion to be calmed, a Scarecrow to be propped up and of course Toto to be fed.
It’s a whirlwind getting these shows together but Stuart Morrison’s Second Star Productions never seem to disappoint and judging by the camaraderie when ESP met up with them, it’s going to be another fun panto!
“It’s like coming home,” said Cheryl, “I grew up here from 8 to 18 in Bretton and I was one of the first pupils when Bretton Woods Community School was built. It’s lovely to come back – probably half the audience will be people I went to school with bringing their own children!
“I was one of the first children buskers on the little stage they used to have here at the Cresset. I used to come with my guitar and pop my hat on the floor, and then progressed that to Cathedral Square. I was one of the first women buskers there. These were my golden years before I went to drama college.”
It’s a special 45th anniversary year for the theatre so a lovely time for Cheryl to return – “It’s brilliant because I can remember this being built. I can’t wait to see the audience and I’ll be in the place that used to be my sports hall, it’s bizarre. I’d love it to be full to the rafters.
"You can go to certain places and they feel tired, but it always feels vibrant coming back here, it’s very diverse now which I love with different people, culture and eateries. It’s changed a lot. It used to just be the place you got your passport!”
Cheryl is of course fondly remembered as 80s music fan Heather Trott in EastEnders and further proof that young talent from Peterborough can make it in the industry.
The performing arts for young people are a big part of The Cresset’s programme and local youngsters will be part of the show in our journey to Oz.
Still recognised for the EastEnders role, Cheryl has fond memories of the soap – “I’m blessed to have played Heather, she was an amazing character with some amazing storylines. I played her for 5 years and got some brilliant friends out of it.”
George Dee who plays The Wizard is also an example of local talent having grown up here, and he’s been performing in Cresset panto’s for 16 years. David McClleand ‘TV’s top gadget guru’ known for a range of programmes including BBC’s Rip Off Britain and Steph’s Packed Lunch is aptly playing the Tin Man, Andrew Crawford from the Rhyme Rocket on Cbeebies is playing The Scarecrow, Edward Simpson who appeared in last year’s show to great acclaim is the Cowardly Lion, Victoria Jane is polishing her ruby slippers to play Dorothy and Kat Paine will be going up against Cheryl as the Wicked Witch of the West.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz runs at The Cresset in Peterborough from December 14 – 31 so don't miss your chance to skip down that yellow brick road.
To book call 01733 265705 or visit www.cresset.co.uk