It looks like everyone’s keen to follow the yellow brick road as tickets for this year’s panto – The Wondeful Wizard of Oz – are apparently selling faster than ever so don’t hang about!

WIZARD-0098The team at the Cresset told us – “The cast have been here rehearsing, we’re glittering the sets, ordering the ice creams and warming up our ‘It’s behind you’ voices ready for curtain up on the 11th!”

Christmas time spells many things for me but one of them has to be watching a good old fashioned pantomime, so I was delighted to catch up with the cast of this year’s Cresset production, The Wizard of Oz, staring Steve Arnold who played the loveable butcher, Ashley, in Coronation Street.

Running from December 11 – December 30 at the Cresset in Bretton, Peterborough, The Wizard of Oz looks set to give us panto fans a real treat as the show takes some different elements from the book and plays them out on stage.

For instance, did you know that Dorothy’s famous ‘there’s no place like home’ red shoes are actually, in fact, silver? No? Me too.

WIZARD-0077Steven Arnold plays the Scarecrow, one of the main characters in the book who goes on a search for the brain he thinks he lacks.

Steven told me: “I want to bring warmth to the Scarecrow, which is really important in panto, and as he doesn’t have a brain, I got the part straight away!

“Panto is great fun and if you’re having fun, then so will the audience. Do I get nervous before? Yes, I do, but that’s good – you need to use that. The adrenalin keeps you up there and I’m sure there’ll be many funny moments in this show.”WIZARD-0078

The lead part, Dorothy, is being played by the fabulous Lucy-Jane Quinlan who has graced the stages of theatre, film and TV. Lucy says: “I get to have a real dog in this panto which is great!

“I come from a small village so I can really understand Dorothy’s sense of wanting an adventure.

“I love doing panto as you really get to let yourself go, be silly and have fun…”

Zach Vanderfelt plays the Cowardly Lion and trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He told me: “I usually play the Dame so this makes a real change and I have to say, not changing my outfit 11 times during a performance is going to be rather nice!

“The beauty of panto is that every performance is completely different as the audience is different and they play such an important role in the performance. We can’t wait!”

WIZARD-0079WIZARD-0076Lawrence Stubbings, who is more used to playing the bad guy returns to the Cresset for the fifth year running and this time it’s to play the part of the Tin Man.

Lawrence tells me: “I played the baddy for the last few years so it’s nice to play a different character like the Tin Man.

“It’s the most heart-warming of stories and although not a traditional panto story, it has all the panto values along with the traditional family elements too.”


It really does promise to be a great show with all the warmth and fun you’d expect at a Cresset Christmas pantomime.

For more information and to get your tickets visit or call 01733 265705.

Anna Ruggiero

Photos: Chris Brudenell, taken at Sacrewell farm centre.



Written by ESP Magazine

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