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Dick Whittington and his Cat at Hackney Empire

Clive Rowe - Credit Robert Workman
Clive Rowe – Credit Robert Workman

They’re back, oh yes they are! Hackney Empire is delighted to announce Grande Dame Olivier Award-winner Clive Rowe will make his 13th pantomime appearance this Christmas starring as Sarah the Cook in Dick Whittington and His Cat joined by Hackney favourite Kat B who will star as Vincent the Cat and Tony Whittle as Alderman Fitzwarren. Rowe returns following a triumphant East End comeback in last year’s 20th-anniversary production of Aladdin which saw him receive the accolade for Best Dame in the 2019 Great British Pantomime Awards. Dick Whittington and His Cat will run from 23 November 2019 to 5 January 2020, with opening night for press on Wednesday 4 December 2019.

The production marks a record 21st pantomime from Writer and Director Susie McKenna with Original Music by Steven Edis who will once again bring all the Hackney trademark magic and spectacle in a dazzling reimagining of this classic rags-to-riches tale, bursting with laugh-out-loud topical gags, knockabout comedy, show-stopping song and dance numbers, the most boo-able baddies and enough festive cheer to fuel a ship halfway around the world.

In Jamaica, young Dick Whittington is boarding the Empire Windrush, chasing the dream of a new life in the gold-paved streets of glorious London. Little does he know, magic awaits him and his enchanted feline friend far across the ocean… He’ll embark on the adventure of a lifetime: reuniting with his Mum, fighting rodent royalty, meeting an eccentric fairy and winning the heart of his true love – all whilst trying to find fame and fortune.

Clive Rowe has played the Dame in 12 pantomime appearances at Hackney Empire, and previously in Dick Whittington in 2007, and is currently appearing in Blues in the Night at the Kiln, also directed by Susie McKenna. Rowe was recognised with an MBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list. His extensive theatre credits include his Olivier Award-winning performance in Guys and Dolls (National Theatre), The Light Princess, Carousel (for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award), Fuente Ovejuna, Caroline, or Change, The Villains Opera, Money, Candide, Peter Pan (all National Theatre), Kiss Me, Kate (Chichester and Old Vic Theatre), The Ladykillers (West End and UK Tour) and recently in Me and My Girl (Chichester Festival Theatre) and In The Willows (UK tour). He is well known for his role as ‘Duke’ in the BBC’s The Story of Tracey Beaker and has been seen in the Disney series The Evermoor Chronicles and voiced Cuisiner in the Beauty and the Beast film adaptation. Other television credits include So Awkward, The Kennedys, The Fun Police, All the Small Things, Doctor Who, Dalziel & Pascoe, and The Harry Hill Show.

Kat B is a familiar face to Hackney Empire audiences following numerous appearances including as the Genie of the Lamp in last year’s Aladdin, and he has previously performed in Dick Whittington in 2012. Other Hackney pantos include Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Jack and the Beanstalk, Mother Goose, Puss in Boots, Cinderella, The Wiz and A Christmas Carol. Kat is best known for MTV Base where he has presented 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 resident host of the Real Deal Comedy Jam and a regular on the Jongleurs Circuit.

Tony Whittle is a seasoned Empire panto performer most recently seen as Sergeant Dumplin’ in Aladdin in 2018. His many previous pantomimes include Sleeping Beauty, Dick Whittington, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Aladdin and Mother Goose. Other extensive theatre credits include Les Misérables (Palace Theatre), Neville’s Island (Bolton Octagon), Fur Coat and No Knickers (Nottingham Playhouse), A View From the Bridge (Greenwich Theatre), and three seasons at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

Dick Whittington and His Cat brings together the creative team of Writer and Director Susie McKenna, Original Music by Steven Edis, Choreographer Richard Roe, Production Design by Lotte Collett, Musical Direction by Mark Dickman, Lighting Design by David Howe and Sound Design by Daniel Higgott.

A Hackney Empire Pantomime
Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, E8 1EJ

First performance: Saturday 23 November 2019
Press night: Wednesday 4 December, 7PM
Final performance: Sunday 5 January 2020

Tickets for Dick Whittington are now on sale at


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