Running from Saturday, November 29 to Saturday, January 3 in the art centre’s Wilde Theatre, this year’s annual show promises to be a ‘spectacular’ event and a ‘very colourful’ show full of illusion.

After a successful two years, Julian Hirst returns to direct the performance, and will also take on the role of the evil Abananzer.

He said: “It feels a bit strange to be talking about Christmas and pantomimes in September but it’s very exciting too.

“All the cast have met up now but we won’t start full rehearsals with the professional cast until November.” A cast of around 30 community actors are also on board with the background crew already working hard preparing for the 60 performances.

Mr Hirst wants to take the panto closer to its roots, and the performance will be set in the Orient rather than Arabia.

“The last two pantomimes, Jack and the Beanstalk and Snow White, were very English pantomimes and although Aladdin is a traditional Christmas show it offers the chance to do something a little bit different.

“The theatre is such an intimate venue, the Oriental colours and production will be amazing and hopefully the audience will love it.” Along with the traditional ‘he’s behind you moments’ for all the family, South Hill Park will also host an adults-only performance on Friday, December 19, but Mr Hirst stressed the adult performance won’t be too outrageous.

“It’s just a chance for people who enjoy panto but don’t necessarily have children to bring with them to come for a night.

“The actors can be a bit more spontaneous and ad lib without worrying as much about the kids. The audience can be a bit more raucous too.” With plenty of audience participation, magic and mayhem, it’s sure to be a festive night out.

South Hill Park are also offering panto-goers the option to book a meal before or after the show, for £25 per person.

Ticket prices range from £12.25–£19.75, with offers open to groups, schools and families.

To book or reserve tickets contact the Box Office on 01344 484 123 or visit