Gallery: Theatre Severn panto launch

The countdown to Shrewsbury's Panto season has begun.

Peter Pan and the Lost Boys will be flying in to Theatre Severn – and rehearsals are already underway for the production, which is once again being produced by Telford-born Paul Hendry.

Last year's sell-out pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, was seen by more than 37,000 people during its run and theatre bosses are hoping that this year's production will prove to be a resounding success.

Directed and starring Brad Fitt, who played Nurse Nellie in last year's Sleeping Beauty and this year will be Mrs Smee, the panto will run from December 3 to January 11 and will feature high wire flying.

It means the hard work has already started, both for the main characters and for the scores of young actors and dancers who are taking part in auditions with the hope of winning a place in the panto cast.

Looking ahead to the production, Brad said: “Theatre Severn is now a home from home for me and over the past three years the audience and the pantomime team have become firm friends.

"It’s a delight to walk out on that stage and be made to feel so welcome.”

Brad will team up again with BBC Radio Shropshire’s Eric Smith, who will be performing in his 12th Shrewsbury pantomime, but his first Peter Pan.

They will be joined by Michael Neilson as the dastardly Captain Hook, Dean Bray as Peter Pan, Alice Strachan as Wendy, while Kara Lane takes the role of Mrs Darling.

See also: Win! The chance to design Cinderella's slipper for Grand panto

The cast will be completed by a professional dance ensemble alongside local youngsters in the roles of Michael, John and the band of lost boys.

Auditions for the Lost Boys and the Darling children were held on Tuesday at the Priory School, Longden Road, Shrewsbury.

Budding actors attended the after-school event in a bid to secure a place in the panto.

Theatre Manager David Jack said pantomime ins Shrewsbury continues to go from strength to strength.

He said: “Half of the tickets for Peter Pan have been snapped up already, the equivalent of more than 30 sold-out performances.

See also: Lichfield Garrick launches panto

"We have a fantastic partnership with Evolution, who produce wonderful shows year after year which appeal to audiences of all ages.

"The positive feedback we receive during pantomime season is overwhelming. We thank our audiences for their fantastic support and look forward to welcoming you all to Peter Pan this Christmas."

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