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Since the middle ages, the pantomime has been delighting British audiences with its mix of silliness, songs and, well, more silliness. Every Christmas time, the South Hams hosts several annual pantomimes, all of which have been running for several years and typically play to packed houses. Here are three to look out for this year, with some more options further afield.

Cinderella at Cliff House in Salcombe

Salcombe Players

  • Wednesday 7th December, 19:30
  • Thursday 8th December, 19:30
  • Friday 9th December, 19:30

Cinderella by the Salcombe Players

The ultimate rags-to-riches story, Cinderella has been chosen as this year’s Salcombe pantomime, which you can catch in the stylish surroundings of Cliff House in early December. Versions of this romantic tale date back at least 2000 years, with similar folk stories uncovered in Ancient Greece, China, Vietnam and the Near East. It first appeared as a pantomime in Britain around the turn of the 20th century, and it’s this larger-than-life version that we’re most familiar with – complete with the Ugly Sisters, The Fairy Godmother, Prince Charming and Buttons.

Tickets will be available from the Salcombe Information Centre, Bonningtons and the Spar.

Keep up-to-date with developments on the Salcombe Players Facebook page.

Dick Whittington at the Flavel Arts Centre in Dartmouth

Dartmouth Players

  • Thursday 28 December, 14:30
  • Friday 29 December, 14:30
  • Saturday 30 December, 14:30
  • Sunday 31 December, 14:30

Follow Dick Whittington and his talented cat Tommy on a quest for fame, fortune and love. When the poor orphaned hero arrives in London in search of riches, his illusions about life in the capital are quickly shattered. He finally finds accommodation with a rich merchant’s family, and falls in love with the beautiful Alice, but again his happiness is short-lived.

The evil Queen Rat frames Dick Whittington for the crime of stealing from Alice’s father, leading to his temporary exile and ultimately an adventure that takes him all the way to Morocco.

Dick Whittington is the only pantomime based on a true – if somewhat embellished! – story. Produced by the Dartmouth Players, the performance will feature Bill Proctor as Dick Whittington, Linda Churchill as the villainous Queen Rat and Ali Parr as the romantic heroine Alice.

Bill Hunt from the Dartmouth Players told us:

“Make sure you join Dick Whittington and his cat on this fun-filled quest for fame and fortune at the Flavel this December. Will Dick win the hand of the lovely Alice? Will Fairy Bowbell’s magic outsmart the horrible Queen Rat? Will they all escape the shipwreck and the Sultan of Morocco? The Dartmouth Players brings you sumptuous sets, gorgeous fairy-tale costumes, slapstick, big song and dance numbers and bags of audience participation. Guaranteed fun, festivity and laughter for the whole family. Don’t miss it!”

For tickets and further details, see the Flavel Arts Centre website.

You can also find out more about the Dartmouth Players on their website.

Dick Whittington at Malborough Village Hall (near Salcombe)

Malborough Amateur Dramatics (M/AD)

  • Wednesday 17th January 19:30
  • Thursday 18th January 19:30
  • Friday 19th January 19:30
  • Saturday 20th January 19:30 (plus a matinee – time tbc)

The annual pantomimes produced by Malborough Amateur Dramatics (MAD) group have proved enormously successful over the years, when the village’s humble village hall is transformed into an impressive theatre, with raked seating, a licensed bar and imaginative stage sets creating the ideal backdrop for a fun evening.

Like the Dartmouth Players, MAD will be performing Dick Whittington this Christmas. MAD regular Tara Roberts will be playing Dick Whittington, with the heroine Alice performed by Lucy Booker.

We’ll post ticketing information once it has been announced.

Further afield

If you’d like to see a professional pantomime and perhaps see a celebrity or two, then you could consider travelling a little further afield to catch a Christmas show in Plymouth, Exeter or Torquay.

Peter Pan (Theatre Royal, Plymouth)

Starring Steve McFadden (AKA EastEnders’ Phil Mitchel) and comedian Andy Ford, this high-flying production of Peter Pan will run from 15th December to 13th January.

Visit the Theatre Royal website for more information.

Cinderella (Exeter Corn Exchange)

The cast has not yet been announced, but a West End line-up has been promised for this production of Cinderella at Exeter Corn Exchange, which will run from 9th December to 1st January.

Find out more from the Corn Exchange website.

Aladdin (The Princess Theatre, Torquay)

Running from Friday 8th to Sunday 31st December, this performance of Aladdin stars The X Factor’s Sam Callaghan and Anne Hegerty, (ITV’s The Chase).

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