A THEATRE group is set to return to the stage for the first time in 18 months with a popular pantomime.

Clacton Musical Theatre Society was forced to suspend its previous production due to the Covid-enforced lockdown.

With social distancing measures now suspended and the future of theatre looking more promising, the group was recently able to invite music-loving members of the public to join them in the search for their new pantomime cast.

Lucy Weaver, Gazette columnist and the show’s director, said: “With over 50 keen performers attending the pre-auditions, the production team had quite the challenge reducing this to just 30 cast members.”

The group will now be performing the much-loved story of Beauty and the Beast at the West Cliff Theatre, Clacton from January 27 to 30, 2022.

Penned by scriptwriter and performer, Joe Meloy, the story follows the traditional tale of the prince (played by Gethan White) cursed to live life as a beast until a beautiful maiden (played by Cassie Weston) arrives to melt his heart.

They are joined by many other pantomime favourites, including a loveable sidekick (Peter Norfolk), a comedic dame (Douglas Garner) and an egotistical villain (Steve Salmon).

Gazette: Stars - Cassie Weston as Belle and Gethan White as Beast.

Back in March 2020, the group had just cast their summer production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels when the Government restrictions forced them to suspend rehearsals immediately.

While ordered to stay at home and unable to meet in person, the group then joined forces with friends in Brightlingsea Musical Theatre Group and produced Cinderella – the Selfie Pantomime, compiled from video clips of all the participants.

This production was then launched on the group’s social media channels and won them a Covid Warrior award from the North East Essex Theatre Guild.

The society is hopeful this new production will be even more successful and offer audiences some much-needed laughs in the new year.

Tickets can be purchased through the theatre box office on 01255 433344 or with an early booking discount via the following link: www.westcliffclacton.co.uk/category/january-2022.