Pantomime celebrations come early for Colchester’s Mercury Theatre this weekend as the cast and backstage team travel to the Great British Pantomime Awards.

And for the first time in their history, the production has a stunning five nominations in the competition, the most of any single theatre in the country.

That includes best script for the Mercury’s artistic director, Daniel Buckroyd, Best Dame for Anthony Stuart Hicks and Best Female Baddie for Colchester’s Carli Norris, who is currently on a national tour with the Mercury’s co-production of The Turn of the Screw.

David Shields has also been nominated for Best Costume Design and the Mercury has also picked up a nomination in the prestigious Best Pantomime category for theatres under 750 seats.

The results will be announced in a ceremony which is taking place at the New Wimbledon Theatre in South London this Sunday, April 15.

Even before the nominations, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the Mercury Theatre’s most successful pantomime to date, seen by more than 30,000 people across 68 performances, including a riotous sold-out adult show for the very first time.

Daniel Buckroyd, says: “These nominations reflect the quality of stagecraft at the Mercury - every word was written and rehearsed in Colchester, every costume made and every set constructed on site.

“Every town and every city has a panto, so I am very proud that with five nominations Colchester is right up there among the best in the country.”

With Anthony Stuart Hicks, Carli Norris, and Mercury favourite Dale Superville already signed up for this year’s pantomime production, tickets are already on sale for Jack and the Beanstalk, which runs from November 24 to January 20, the longest run of any Mercury show yet.

They are available from the Mercury box office on 01206 573948 or on-line at