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Sheringham Little Theatre Wizard of Oz promises to cast a spell on audiences with a magic mix of puppetry, music, comedy and special effects

PUBLISHED: 17:04 18 October 2017 | UPDATED: 22:39 20 October 2017

Shane Armstrong and Hana Stewart, who star as Good Witch Glinda and Dorothy in the Sheringham Little Theatre pantomime, The Wizard of Oz. Photo: RICHARD BATSON

Shane Armstrong and Hana Stewart, who star as Good Witch Glinda and Dorothy in the Sheringham Little Theatre pantomime, The Wizard of Oz. Photo: RICHARD BATSON

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Audiences are invited to follow the adventures Dorothy and her faithful dog Toto as they travel over the rainbow to a magical land, in this year’s Sheringham Little Theatre pantomime, The Wizard of Oz.

North Walsham actor Harry Williams, who plays the Scarecrow in the Sheringham Little Theatre pantomime, The Wizard of Oz. Photo: RICHARD BATSONNorth Walsham actor Harry Williams, who plays the Scarecrow in the Sheringham Little Theatre pantomime, The Wizard of Oz. Photo: RICHARD BATSON

The show, which features special effects, puppetry, comedy and a mix of modern and traditional songs, begins a three-week run on December 9.

Taking the starring role of Kansas farm girl Dorothy is Hana Stewart, who was chosen for the part at London auditions led by Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson.

Shane Armstrong and Hana Stewart, who star as Good Witch Glinda and Dorothy in the Sheringham Little Theatre pantomime, The Wizard of Oz. Photo: RICHARD BATSONShane Armstrong and Hana Stewart, who star as Good Witch Glinda and Dorothy in the Sheringham Little Theatre pantomime, The Wizard of Oz. Photo: RICHARD BATSON

“Hana looks just like Dorothy and she is a superb performer, so she is just perfect for the role,” Mrs Thompson said.

The Essex-born 22-year-old, who trained at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, in London, inherited her love of acting from her mother and says playing Maid Marion in a primary school production helped her gain confidence after suffering bullying.

Hana, who went on to play lead roles in musicals, is looking forward to spending panto season in Sheringham.

“It’s my happy place where I have enjoyed lovely holidays. It should be the best Christmas ever” she said.

Helping Dorothy on her journey down the Yellow Brick Road will be Good Witch Glinda, played by Shane Armstrong, who starred as Friar Tuck and Ugly Sister Verruca in previous Sheringham pantos.

Shane, who went to drama school with Wizard of Oz director Nick Earnshaw, switches between pantomime and serious acting - appearing in Shakespeare, Chekov and Ibsen - and says he loves the variety of doing both.

“Whatever the format, the audience has to believe in the characters you are playing, but I love the outlandish colour of panto,” he explained.

Shane is joined by Little Theatre favourite Loraine Metcalfe as the Wicked Witch of the West; panto regular Rik Warren as the Lion; Kyle Fraser as the Tin Man; North Walsham actor Harry Williams as the Scarecrow and two teams of local youngsters playing Munchkins and villagers.

The Wizard of Oz: The Panto! runs at Sheringham Little Theatre from December 9 to January 1st. Tickets, priced £18 adults (£13 under 16s, £60 family ticket) , are available from the box office on 01263 822347 or from www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com


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