Family panto with a difference back in Leeds after 30 years

A family friendly pantomime by a nationally acclaimed director, which was first performed in Leeds 30 years ago, has been updated with modern day twist.

Sunday, 15th December 2019, 6:42 pm
Updated Sunday, 15th December 2019, 6:43 pm

Roots in Boots, a re-imagining of the traditional Cinderella / Puss in Boots tale, is to be performed by an all-black theatre company Kuffdem Arts, based in Chapeltown.

Producers envisage the performance will inspire black youngsters, who come from inner-city areas of Leeds, to give them hope that working in the arts is a possibility and that a career in acting, writing or production is an option.

Written by Ansell Broderick, Roots in Boots first hit the stage in December 1988 and the revival of the company is creating excitement in the theatre world around the UK, through Ansell's history of playwrighting, directing and performance around the world.

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Jennifer Moore who plays Roots in thr performance of Roots in Boots, by Kuffdem Arts, in Chapetown. Picture by Gemma Lake.

The panto, which includes dance and comedy, will be performed at the Mandela Centre, Chapeltown Road, on December 16-17 and 19-21.

Ansell, from Leeds, who is directing the play, said: “We started as a theatre group in 1988, out of a need for the African and Caribbean community to see art that resonated with and reflected them and their experiences. Its first production

“The all black cast give this traditional pantomime tale a very African Caribbean twist, with original music, comedy and pathos - as well as some amazing dance movement scenes, which will appeal to all sections of society - but particularly important is the opportunity for young, black people to see themselves reflected in the arts, both in terms of cast and crew, and hopefully inspired to be writers, directors and backstage crew.”

The performance has been produced without any big funding pots of money, and has relied upon small donations.

Denton 'The Body' Wilson stars as the doorman with character Frederick, in Roots in Boots. Picture by Gemma Lake.

The show also features Over 60s World Champion bodybuilder and cancer survivor Denton “The Body” Wilson, from Sheffield, who starred in the original show.

Playing the footman, he will show off some dance moves, which are set to be a wow-factor of the show.

Tickets are available at

Prunela and Unis as the two Ugly Sisters, in Roots in Boots. Picture by Gemma Lake.