The warmth of the audience is something Ruth Madoc remembers fondly from the last time she performed in Mansfield two decades ago.
The actress, who played Gladys in the sitcom Hi-Di-Hi and more recently starred in a stage production of Calendar Girls, is a panto veteran and she will be taking on the role of Fairy Godmother in this year’s seasonal spectacular Cinderella at Mansfield’s Palace Theatre.
Speaking at the panto launch, which took place at Mansfield’s Andwhynot bar on Thursday, she said: “It’s lovely to see how much they have done to the theatre.
“What I do remember it is the wonderful warmth of the audience in Mansfield and the marvellous market square that you have.
“It’s absolutely beautiful and I am really looking forward to reacquainting myself with Mansfield.”
She also said that she believes that pantomime is an art form and that she was taught by the some of the greats, including the comic actor Billy Whittaker.
Top children’s entertainer Dave Benson Phillips, who presented the popular TV show Get Your Own Back will be reprising his role of Buttons in this year’s pantomime - and he says he is also looking forward to making a return to the town, not least because he will be able to revisit his favourite late night haunt, Maid Marian on Leeming Street.
“Pantomime is a great tradition which encompasses the old and the new,” says Dave who was last in Mansfield six years ago.
“There will be moments of extreme modernity along with the traditional stuff.”
And he added: “I am looking forward to going to the Maid Marian. They serve the best kebabs in town!”
Meanwhile, Scottish actress Martine McMenemy will be taking on the lead role of Cinderella after playing the Fairy in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Palace Theatre two years ago.
Martine says she has performed in Jack and the Beanstalk on numerous occasions - and she is now looking forward to being part of a new production.
At the launch, Martine was wearing Cinderella’s ‘worker’ costume but she says she is looking forward to seeing the other costumes she will wear, including her beautiful ballgown.
“It is quite exciting,” she said.
“We don’t know what the costumes are going to be like yet.”
She added that theatre-goers can look forward to a traditional pantomime this Christmas and New Year.
“They always keep it very traditional which is very nice because pantomime is so traditional.”
This year’s pantomime also stars Bobbie Kent and Anthony West as the Ugly Sisters, while the Sensational Shetland Ponies will be appearing live on stage.
Cinderella will be on at Mansfield’s Palace Theatre from 30th November until 5th January and tickets start at £9.74 with family tickets available for £47.15. People who buy 10 tickets will also get the 11th one free.
• For further information or to book your tickets visit www.mansfield.gov.uk/palacetheatre or call the Box Office on Mansfield 633133. Look out for further details, updates and announcements in your Chad over the coming months.