Professional panto comes to Lowestoft

Hayley Mace The first professional pantomime to come to Lowestoft for nearly 50 years was given a swashbuckling welcome in the town's harbour.ow.

Hayley Mace

The first professional pantomime to come to Lowestoft for nearly 50 years was given a swashbuckling welcome in the town's harbour.

Captain Hook, Mrs Darling and Smee took to the water on a restored sailing smack officially to launch Peter Pan as Lowestoft's Christmas family show.

This winter will see the first professional pantomime in the town since the early 1960s and has attracted well-known television and theatre faces to the town.

Television favourite Ken Farrington - known to millions as Tom King in ITV's Emmerdale - will make his pantomime debut in Lowestoft this winter, playing Captain Hook.

Mr Farrington will star alongside Sarah Jane Buckley, a well-known theatre actress who recently played Kathy Barnes in Channel 4's Hollyoaks.

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Ms Buckley, who will play Mrs Darling in the Marina's production, said: “I love pantomime, I enjoy the sense of excitement for children and adults.

“The tradition of it is fantastic because it is so big and over the top - it's unlike anything else at the theatre and that's what makes it so special.”

Captain Hook's sidekick Smee will be played by CITV presenter Jamie Rickers, who presents weekend morning children's show Toonattik.

The stars gathered yesterday to mark the official launch of the pantomime and took the play's pirate theme to a new level, taking a trip to Lowestoft's Heritage Quay to meet the crew of the restored sailing smack The Excelsior.

Marina Theatre manager Martin Halliday said: “It is a big moment for the theatre and for the town. It's the final piece of the jigsaw in the revamp of the Marina Theatre and I'm pleased that after about five years of work it is finally going ahead.

“Pantomimes are important for developing audiences from a young age - for many children, the pantomime is the first experience they have of live theatre.”

Peter Pan will run from Thursday December 11 until Sunday January 4 with performances every day except Christmas day. For more information and to book tickets, contact the box office on 01502 533200.