There’s nothing like a dame-as veteran Queen’s Theatre performer Simon knows so well

11:00 30 November 2012


Queen's Theatre panto


»There are lots of things that make a panto a magical experience, but for Cut to the Chase actor Simon Jessop the most important thing is the dame.

Behind the greasepaint: Curtain up on festive fun

-About 30,000 people come to watch the Queen’s Theatre pantomime every year

-There are 60 performances of Jack and the Beanstalk between December 1 - January 12- that’s about 140 hours of solid acting for the theatre’s resident group of actors/musicians, Cut to the Chase this panto season!

-Simon Jessop, who plays the Dame Trott in Jack and the Beanstalk, has played the panto dame at the Queen’s for three years

-John Halstead played the dame in nine pantomimes at the Queen’s from 1979 onwards (often playing 100 performances per show!) while Chris MacDonnell played the dame six times from 1998 onwards

-The Queen’s very first pantomime was Cinderella in 1953

-Acting legends Joan Plowright and Bernard Cribbins both cut their teeth at the Queen’s - they performed in Aladdin in 1954, just a year after the Theatre opened. Joan played pretty Itti-Sing while Bernard delighted audiences as Bobbli of the Pekin Constabolorry!

He said: “I love playing the dame because it is lots of fun and as a dame you get to really build up a good relationship with the audience.”

Simon has played it three times at the Queen’s. Only two other people in the theatre’s history have played the part more – John Halstead nine times from 1979 and Chris MacDonnell six times from 1998.

Simon said: “As a dame you have got to appeal to the adults and the kids, some dames just put all their emphasis on the adults and they ignore the kids.

“But you have got to have sympathy for the dame and see her as a motherly figure so that you want to follow her on the journey.”

He added: “The panto is always lots of fun at the Queen’s. We have a loyal audience and we know them really well so we know what works.”

Jack And The Beanstalk, at the theatre from Saturday December 1 to January 12.


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