Last call for festive panto

Jackie and Winchelsea Will (right) confront performers from the RCC Youth Theatre

Jack and the Beanstalk is entering its final run at the Rye Creative Centre (RCC)  on New Road, with only a few more performances to go. This hilarious show works for children and adults alike, with a lot of audience participation and local references.

Emily Carding plays the giant’s housemaids

The show was written by local duo John Knowles and Kate Tym. As usual the “principal boy” is played by a woman, but in this version features a “shero”, guitar playing Jackie. Ruth Parsons, who threw herself into the role also performs opera and is based at St Leonard’s on Sea. I was surprised and pleased to see Emily Carding in the cast. I last saw her in her one-woman Richard III where she covered most of the roles, but very different from the giant’s housemaids she portrayed here. I am looking forward to her I am Hamlet, which comes to the RCC at the end of February.

The show involved young performers from the RCC Youth Theatre who did a great job supporting the rest of the cast, acting, dancing and singing with a high degree of professionalism.

Funding for the ambitious show was provided by Arts Council England, Fairlight Arts Trust, the National Lottery and Rother District Council but it seems to have been very much a local group effort. Thanks in the programme were also given to Rye DIY and Adams amongst others.

The ‘Dame’ holds forth

Some tickets are still available from Rye Heritage Centre, Grammar School Records, the ARRCC shop or online. for the final shows of the run, taking place on :
Friday 22nd Dec 7.00pm
Saturday 23rd Dec 2.30pm and 7pm
Sunday 24th/ Christmas Eve 2.30pm
Tuesday 26th Boxing Day 2.30pm
Wednesday 27th 5.00pm

I would strongly recommend a visit. And the good news is that there is now a 25% discount on tickets for the evening performances and for the youth theatre workshop on December 27 3:15pm to 4pm. To book for the workshop email

Producer Hayley-Marie Axe comments:

“I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded Arts Council funding to go towards our production of Jack and the Beanstalk – Rye’s first professional static pantomime. This is a massive step towards our long-term development plans for the theatre and being able to offer local industry professionals the opportunity to work close to home, whilst providing a local audience with top quality professional entertainment at affordable prices. We are currently working on a year-round programme for the theatre, to include at least three in-house professional productions a year, including a yearly pantomime, Easter family show and a summer rep season. The summer season will start off with one or two plays in our first year but will build up to a complete summer programme, similar to Pitlochry or the Frinton Summer theatre, where a company of actors perform several shows over the summer.

“Being a tourist town. this will also attract new business and we hope to establish partnerships with local accommodation providers to offer theatre holiday packages. This won’t happen over night but you have to think big to make things happen and having the Arts Council’s support as our first step towards this gives us encouragement that we are heading in the right direction. All of our shows will have professional actors in the lead roles, supported by our youth theatre members and will create opportunities for local youth talent who would like explore working on stage or behind the scenes.”




Photos: Seana Lanigan

Photos: Seana Lanigan


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