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Ipswich Regent and New Wolsey Theatre celebrate record-breaking panto audiences

Rob Falconer as The Wolf and Lucy Wells as Red Riding Hood in Red Riding Hood at the New Wolsey Theatre. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

Rob Falconer as The Wolf and Lucy Wells as Red Riding Hood in Red Riding Hood at the New Wolsey Theatre. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

Mike Kwasniak Photography, 2017 - www.mikekwasniak.co.uk

The Ipswich Regent and New Wolsey Theatre have plenty to cheer about, with record-breaking crowds buying pantomime tickets.

Roxanne Pallett and George Sampson in Enchanted Entertainment's Ipswich Regent panto, Jack and The Beanstalk. Picture: LUCY TAYLORRoxanne Pallett and George Sampson in Enchanted Entertainment's Ipswich Regent panto, Jack and The Beanstalk. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Nearly 19,000 people laughed, booed and hissed their way through 25 performances of Jack and the Beanstalk said Bryony Rudkin, Ipswich Borough Council’s deputy leader and porfolio holder for arts and culture.

“We’re pleased to have got so much positive feedback as well as an even spread of audiences, with some great packed houses.

“This record-breaking panto in terms of income helps us to constantly improve the offer at the Regent with more top quality entertainment for everyone and we have an exciting year ahead.”

It’s the eighth year the theatre has worked with Enchanted Entertainment, who bring Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs to town next winter.

Max Runham as Prince Florizel Fortunate and Simon Nock as Dame Millicent Merry in Red Riding Hood at the New Wolsey Theatre. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAKMax Runham as Prince Florizel Fortunate and Simon Nock as Dame Millicent Merry in Red Riding Hood at the New Wolsey Theatre. Picture: MIKE KWASNIAK

A big hit when it came to Ipswich six years ago, the cast will be revealed in the coming months but tickets are already on sale now with an early bird offer until March.

The New Wolsey had to add extra performances to meet demand for its popular rock ‘n’ roll pantomime Red Riding Hood, the tenth penned by artistic director Peter Rowe.

With 91 performances, more than 34,000 tickets have been sold. It went on sale last March, with 11% of tickets being bought the first day and 80% snapped up before the show opened.

Michelle Emmerson-Grey, head of communications at the theatre, said: “We’re delighted that after 17 years it continues to be a fixture in the seasonal celebrations for so many people across Suffolk and beyond.

Wayne Bavin,  Martin Ramsden and Andy Fleming in Jack and the Beanstalk.  Picture: Lucy TaylorWayne Bavin, Martin Ramsden and Andy Fleming in Jack and the Beanstalk. Picture: Lucy Taylor

“With more than 3,600 tickets available at £10 each, two relaxed performances and our second year of providing audio description for every single performance, we’re committed to making the pantomime available to many people as possible, but would advise early booking for the best seats at the best prices for those looking ahead.”

There are still a few tickets available, particularly for the new 9pm performances on Friday nights. It closes on January 27.

Next year’s New Wolsey pantomime will be announced on February 12. Priority bookers can buy tickets from March 10. The show will go on general sale from March 17.

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