Hackney Empire has today announced the full cast of its much-anticipated brand new pantomime for 2016, Sleeping Beauty. The West End’s leading lady Alexia Khadime (Wicked, The Book of Mormon, The Lion King) will be returning to the site of her stage debut to star as Princess Tahlia (Sleeping Beauty). She will be joined by Olivier Award-winner Sharon D Clarke who returns to Hackney Empire after her appearance in Mother Goose in 2014. They are joined by Gavin Spokes who makes his dameing debut, he joins the Hackney Empire family straight from his Olivier Award-nominated performance as Nicely Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls in the West End.
Following their 2015 pantomime which was seen by over 55,000 people Sleeping Beauty will run from 26th November 2016 to 8th January 2017 with Press Night on 1st December.
The full cast includes: Alexia Khadime, Sharon D Clarke, Gavin Spokes, Kat B, Tony Whittle, Darren Hart, Wayne Perrey, Georgia Oldman, Kiruna Stamell and Sharon Ballard.
Sleeping Beauty will be written and directed by the theatre’s Creative Director Susie McKenna with music by Steven Edis. The award-winning team has been the creative force behind London’s number one pantomime for over a decade and will once again bring a classic story bang up to date. Sleeping Beauty will be McKenna and Edis’ 18th pantomime for Hackney Empire.
In true Hackney Empire style that brings West End values at East End prices, this spellbinding spectacular family pantomime will be packed with colourful characters, knockabout comedy, show-stopping musical routines, magic and sparkle, played out in the beautiful Victorian Theatre.
Welcome to enchanted Hackneytonia; a land of fairies, unicorns and dragons where once upon a time, a princess is born. Spurned at the celebration party, malevolent wicked fairy Carabosse casts an evil spell which changes the Princess’s life forever. Will Princess Tahlia take charge of her own destiny?
Alexia Khadime (Princess Tahlia – Sleeping Beauty) has previously performed at Hackney Empire, playing Alice in the 2012 pantomime Dick Wittington and his Cat. Alexia’s other stage credits include The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wales), Les Miserables (Queens Theatre), Wicked (Apollo Victoria), The Lion King (Lyceum), Ordinary Days (Trafalgar Studios), Welcome to Thebes (National Theatre) and the UK Tours of Whistle Down the Wind and Leader of the Pack. Her film and television credits include Les Miserables, and London Road.
Sharon D Clarke (Carabosse) returns to the Hackney Empire after most recently starring there in 2014 pantomime Mother Goose. Her extensive theatre credits include her Olivier Award-winning performance in The Amen Corner (National Theatre), as well as her Olivier nominated performances in We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre) and Ghost (Piccadilly Theatre). Other recent credits include Porgy & Bess (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Everyman (National Theatre), Pigs and Dogs (Royal Court) and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (National Theatre).
Gavin Spokes (Dame Nanny Nora) most recently played the role of Nicely Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls (West End) for which he received an Olivier Award-nomination. Other Theatre credits include 1984 (Headlong/West End) One Man Two Guvnors (National Theatre UK Tour), Laurel and Hardy (Watermill Theatre), Wind In the Willows (Northampton Theatre Royal), She Stoops to Conquer (National Theatre). Recent television credits include Holby City (BBC), and Utopia (both Channel 4).
Kat B (Denzil the Dragon) returns to Hackney Empire after starring as the Snowman in last year’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk. He previously starred in Mother Goose and Puss in Boots, Dick Whittington, Cinderella, The Wiz, A Christmas Carol, Aladdin, and The Kat and Tameka Show. Kat is best known for his antics on MTV Base where he has presented numerous shows around the world. His film and television credits include Waterland and Street Wise (BBC) and The Richard Blackwood Show (Channel 4). Kat is also the Artistic Director of Real Deal Comedy Jam and a regular on the Jongleurs Circuit.
Tony Whittle (King Eric of the Undecided) returns to Hackney Empire after previous starring in the 2012 pantomime Dick Wittington. He has starred in many previous Hackney Empire Pantomimes including Cinderella, Jack and The Beanstalk, Aladdin and Mother Goose. Other recent stage credits include Cinderella, Aladdin (both Imagine Theatre) and Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2.
Darren Hart (Ikoboo– Wolfman Servant to Carabosse the Dark Fairy) makes his return to Hackney Empire after starring as Clumsy Colin in last year’s pantomime Jack and The Beanstalk. His other theatre credits include Home (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Mother Goose (Hackney Empire), Lonely Londoners (National Theatre Studio), Clockwork, Cinderella and Red Riding Hood (all Theatre Royal Stratford East), That Face (Soho Theatre), Absolute Beginners (Lyric Hammersmith), Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 and His Dark Materials (both National Theatre). His television credits include Justin’s House and Gigglebiz (both BBC).
Wayne Perrey (Prince Gabriel of Westminsteria) makes his return to Hackney Empire after playing Prince Charming in Cinderella in 2011. He most recently played the role of Krish in Casualty (BBC). Other television credits include Doctors (BBC), Emmerdale (ITV) and Dalziel & Pascoe (BBC). Theatre credits include Between Empires (Edinburgh Festival), Once on This Island (Birmingham REP/Hackney Empire), Miss Bollywood (Royal albert Hall/ World Tour), Bombay Dreams (Apollo Victoria) and Rent (Shaftesbury).
Georgia Oldman (Shimmerpop) makes her return to Hackney Empire after starring as Off Her Trolly Molly in last year’s pantomime Jack and The Beanstalk. She has just finished the international tour of James and the Giant Peach (Sell a Door).
Kiruna Stamell (Willowsnap) most recently played the role of Anna in The Government Inspector (Birmingham Rep). Other stage credits include Everyman, An Oak Tree, Great Britain (all National Theatre). Television credits include Father Brown, Holby City and Life’s Too Short (all BBC). Film credits include The Girl and Moulin Rouge.
Sharon Ballard (Blisstip) makes her Hackney Empire pantomime debut. Her recent film work includes the Me Before You and Delicious. She recently appeared in David Gest’s Time of My Life arena tour.
Susie McKenna (Writer /Director) has worked as an actress and director touring nationally and in the West End for over 25 years and is currently Creative Director of Hackney Empire. Her directing credits include the critically acclaimed Blues In the Night (Hackney Empire 2014) A Midsummer Night’s Madness (Hackney Empire, New York and Edinburgh Festival), La Varieté, Once on This Island (Hackney Empire), Sit and Shiver (assisting Steven Berkoff), A Christmas Carol (Arts Theatre, London) Once on this Island (Hackney Empire, Birmingham Rep, Nottingham Playhouse) and The Silver Sword (Belgrade Theatre/UK Tour). Her acting credits include Chicago, Ragtime, Cats and The Witches of Eastwick in the West End and national tours of Hair, The Rocky Horror Show and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Steven Edis (Musical Composer) has produced a magical mix of musical mash-ups, chart remixes and brand new music for the past 17 Hackney Empire pantomimes and this will be his 18th year of creating another original score. Steven has worked with the National Theatre, in the West End and on a variety of prestigious projects as composer, arranger and orchestrator. Credits include Volpone (RSC), The Captain of Köpenick (National Theatre), She Loves Me and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Chichester Festival Theatre), A Chorus of Disapproval, Flare Path and Birdsong for the West End. Steven brings his vast experience to create a musical score that rivals a West End musical.
A Hackney Empire Pantomime
Press Night: Thursday 1 Dec, 7pm
Written and Directed by Susie McKenna
Music: Steven Edis
Design: Lotte Collett
Musical Director: Mark Dickman
Choreographer: Carl Parris
Lighting: David W Kidd
Sound Design: Avgoustos Psillas
Assistant Director: Tony Whittle
Creature Design: Scott Brooker
Sat 26 Nov 2016 – Sun 8 Jan 2017
Tickets from £36 – £10, concessions available
Groups of 10+ discount available at certain of performances
Sat 10 Dec at 1pm (relaxed performance) & 6pm.
Thu 15 Dec at 1.30pm & 7pm.
Sat 10 Dec at 1pm (signed performance)
Box Office: 020 8985 2424