'A lot of tears' - Cast members get engaged on stage at Theatre Royal panto

Luke Cartledge and Joe Press got engaged on stage at the Dick Whittington and his Cat panto.

Luke Cartledge and Joe Press got engaged on stage at the Dick Whittington and his Cat panto at Norwich Theatre Royal, pictured with Chloe Lindsay, Molly Browne, Lucia Valentino, Blair Cameron and Holly Houseman. - Credit: Danielle Booden

The magic of panto has struck again as two cast members got engaged at the end of Dick Whittington at Norwich Theatre Royal. 

The on-stage proposal took place after the performance on Thursday night (December 16) as Joe Press got down on one knee and popped the question to his partner Luke Cartledge.

Thankfully, Mr Cartledge said yes and the pair shared a kiss as the audience erupted into applause.

Two members of the Dick Whittington panto cast at Norwich Theatre Royal got engaged at the end of the show. 

Two members of the Dick Whittington panto cast at Norwich Theatre Royal got engaged at the end of the show. - Credit: Archant

Both dancers are part of the ensemble and the Theatre Royal has a special place in their hearts as they met while performing in Sleeping Beauty together in 2017.

While the pair, who are both 26, now live together in London, Mr Press grew up in Norwich and would always come to the panto as a child. 

His huge family comes to watch every year, with 80 relatives there on Thursday, so it was the perfect time.

Mr Cartledge's dad was also there as Mr Press had asked for his permission a few weeks ago.

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Mr Press said: "I spoke to Richard Gauntlett [panto dame, writer and co-director] and Stephen Crocker [Norwich Theatre chief executive] prior to the show and they were the only people that knew.

Joe Press (right) proposed to Luke Cartledge at the end of Dick Whittington at Norwich Theatre Royal. 

Joe Press (right) proposed to Luke Cartledge at the end of Dick Whittington at Norwich Theatre Royal. - Credit: Danielle Booden

"I was very nervous about how it would pan out and what I was going to say but it was such a good audience.

"The cast didn't know either and there were a lot of tears - we all had a drink on stage after and took some photos." 

Mr Press has performed in the panto since 2016, apart from 2018 as he was away in Germany, and Mr Cartledge since 2017.

Mr Cartledge said: "When we were doing Cinderella in 2019, Joe joked that he would propose to me on stage if we did panto together again and I said if you do I will walk out - I did not think I would have all these people watching me cry.

Luke Cartledge and Joe Press met at the Norwich Theatre Royal 2017 panto Sleeping Beauty. 

Luke Cartledge and Joe Press met at the Norwich Theatre Royal 2017 panto Sleeping Beauty. - Credit: Danielle Booden

"I was very happy but I felt so sick and couldn't believe it was happening." 

Dick Whittington runs until January 9 and features a star-studded cast, including Graham Cole, Joe Tracini and Siân Reeves.