IT'S getting towards that special time of year when you can head to the theatre to keep your little ones entertained, only to find yourself shouting “he’s behind you” and losing yourself in the fun of it all.

Today we look at some of the best pantomimes across the county so that you can get ready for your big festive family night out.

Be prepared to enjoy yourselves.

Dick Whittington

The Barn Theatre, Seaford

January 17 - 26

There’s a South-East Richard-off this winter and it’s Hove versus Seaford in the battle of the Whittingtons.

This Seaford show is smaller than many of the pantos on our list but will still aim to show Dick Whittington is the purrfect pantomime adventure, with solid sets and costumes, special effects and a funny script for all the family.

This January production can keep the Christmas feeling running right into the new year as London has become infested with rats again, but luckily Dick Whittington and his cat are still around to save the day.

This year’s production features Tori Blackwell as Dick Whittington himself.

Jo Salter is Alice Fitzwarren and Stephanie Verrall is Tom the Cat.


Worthing Marine Parade

November 29 – January 5

This year follows last year’s successful production of Aladdin (nominated for Pantomime of the Year).

Poor Cinderella lives a life of misery in the house of her dreadful step-sisters, but a well-fitting glass slipper and an encounter with Prince Charming could change all that. Countryfile presenter Naomi Wilkinson stars in the title role. She will be supported by Strictly Come Dancing’s Ian White and Mark Read of boyband A1.

With the help of her servant and best friend Buttons – not to mention the assistance of her Fairy Godmother – can she make it to the ball and back again before Midnight?


The White Rock Theatre, Hastings

December 13 - 29

The White Rock is going head to head with Walt Disney this year in the battle of the Aladdins

Will Smith’s genie couldn’t save the blockbuster film from middling reviews, but Hastings’ stage version of the same story promises a lamp-load of comedy, jaw-dropping special effects, sensational song and dance and plenty of boos and hisses for the whole family to enjoy.

Former boyband member and current panto stalwart Duncan James from Blue stars in the title role (which the White Rock can’t believe anyone would be Blue about) and comedian Ben Watson will feature as Aladdin’s brother, Wishee Washee.

Ben has said that he’s “delighted to be coming back to the White Rock and to be back in panto this Christmas. Hastings has some of the best, and loudest, panto audiences in the world and I can’t wait to get back to them and make them laugh.”

Dick Whittington

Hove Windmill Theatre

22/12 – 29/12

Off the back of previous shows Aladdin and Snow White, firm local favourite the Windmill pantomime is returning for its fifth year.

Just two years ago, writer and director Connor Baum was terrorising children and adults alike as the Wicked Queen in Snow White, but now he will be fulfilling his “lifelong dream” of writing and directing a pantomime.

This English folk story about a man who rises from rags to riches by selling his cat to a rat-infested country is being re-told this December in Hove.

Based on the real 14th century Mayor of London (there is no evidence he ever owned a cat), this panto will take the audience from the paved streets of Britain to the golden shores of Morocco.

But will Dick be able to outwit the rotten King Rat, free London from his team of revolting rodents and win the beautiful Alice’s hand in marriage in the process?

Producer Robert Blass said that everything for the show is done in house.

And it features many children from the local dancing school in acting roles.

Over the years the Hove Windmill Panto has been working to raise money for Chestnut Tree Children’s Hospice.

Last year’s run raised more that £3000 for the cause.

The panto has also kept its ticket prices low and offered plenty of group ticket deals to ensure that the fun really does remain for the whole family.

Jack and the Beanstalk

Eastbourne Devonshire Park

December 6 – January 12

From the team behind 2018’s Cinderella, this year’s show tells the tale of a young boy from a poor family who exchanges the family cow for magic beans, ascends a giant beanstalk and does battle with the Giant Bundlebore to rescue the captive young princess.

This adaptation of the classic fairytale stars Katherine Glover as Jack, which makes it three years starring in a row following her performances as Cinderella in 2018 and Dick Whittington in 2017. Billingshurst local Victoria Farley will feature as Princess Jill.

The cast have been seen wandering around the town of Eastbourne as they went on a full dress expedition for photos at the Towner Gallery and the Devonshire Park Theatre.

And Martyn Knight, Eastbourne’s resident pantomime dame, who’s been terrifying the men in the front rows for the last 15 years, will once again be there in the false lashes and big bloomers in his role as Dame Trott, alongside annual favourite Tucker.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Shoreham Ropetackle

December 13 - 31

Following seven years of sell-out pantomime shows, the intimate, community-run Shoreham Ropetackle – named the best theatre and arts venue in Sussex by digital lifestyle magazine Muddy Stilettos – is staging the classic story of magic mirrors, dwarves, poisoned apples and an enchanted princess.

It features Ellen Eckersley as Snow White, Grace Dunn as The Evil Queen, and the voice of Monty Python’s Carol Cleveland as the Magic Mirror.

The adventurous tale of Snow White has all the special features of a traditional pantomime. It takes us high on the castle turrets, deep into the enchanted forests, cosily in the dwarfs’ cottage and down into the diamond mines too.

Expect plenty of slapstick comedy and general mayhem in this bright re-telling of the well-known traditional tale.

Since its birth in 2012, the Shoreham show is now one of the most well-established pantomimes around, tickets are usually in high demand.

“We only had a handful of tickets left by the time we opened last year,” they said.

The Wizard of Oz

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre

December 14 - 19

When a cyclone transports Dorothy with just her ruby slippers and her faithful dog Toto to the strange land of Oz, she and a ramshackle cast of curious characters including a heartless tin man and a cowardly lion must travel along the yellow brick road toward the Emerald City in search of the mysterious Wizard of Oz.

Directed by Lucy Betts - who helmed 2018’s adaptation of Sleeping Beauty - this “faithful” adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s novel will feature all the classic songs from the 1939 film, including Over The Rainbow, If I Only Had A Brain and We’re Off To See The Wizard.

Peter Pan

Brighton Metropole

December 19 - 29

Peter, Wendy and the Lost Boys will fly into Brighton for this December, courtesy of the temporary stage of Brighton-based production company, E3.

When E3 founder David Hill noticed that Brighton was the only major city without a mainstream pantomime, the company decided that it would create a theatre within the Hilton Metropole on Brighton seafront, and then in Cinderella fashion will dissemble the entire 832-seater venue in time for the (Hilton’s New Year’s) Eve ball.

The temporary theatre has been increasing in size year by year. This year’s stage has had to be deeper to include space for the flying rig that will send Peter and co soaring through the Hilton.

BBC Sussex presenter Allison Ferns will play Delores the Mermaid, while Peter Pan will be played by Michael Ruben in a production that opts for a strong cast ahead of the usual panto names.

David Hill described the show as “a very traditional family panto with large-scale production, special effects, glamorous costumes and plenty of comedy content.”

“In previous years we’ve had people say to us after shows that they’ve never heard singing like that in panto.”

“This year we’ve got a full live band and even live animals.

“A 55kg Burmese mountain dog plays Nana.”

Dick Whittington

The Hawth, Crawley

Fri 6 December 2019 - Sun 5 January 2020

Dick Whittington starring Charlie Brooks (EastEnders, I'm a Celebrity Winner), Gemma Hunt (CBeebies' Swashbuckle), David Ribi (CH5's Milkshake), with Crawley favourites, the fabulous Michael J Batchelor and Richard Franks. Once again, the show will be written by Paul Hendy, and produced by EVOLUTION, the same team behind last year's Aladdin. The Hawth always puts on a great panto.