Costume drama as panto takes to the stage in Leeds

Panto Dame Rob Steven.
Panto Dame Rob Steven.
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Popstars and presenters are taking centre stage as panto comes back with a bang at Leeds’s Carriageworks Theatre.

X Factor stars Same Difference – made up of brother and sister duo Sean and Sarah Smith – join CBBC presenter and panto favourite Jez Edwards in Sleeping Beauty.

The YEP visited the stars backstage as the show kicked off at Millennium Square.

With just a small team of just 23, including costumes, backstage, actors and dancers, it’s a stressful time as they had just 10 days to rehearse and will do 64 shows in this year’s run.

Kate Wilcock, stage manager, said: “We have such a short period of time to put the show on that we become this little family unit.”

CBBC favourite Jez Edwards is returning to the Carriageworks for his fifth consecutive year in Leeds and his 15th in panto overall.

Jez, who plays Pickles, said: “I don’t want people to get bored of me. But having grandparents stop us at the stage door to say seeing me is their Christmas tradition, I thought, ‘I’ll stay!’”

Sean, from Same Difference, said: “It sends shivers down my spine when I see the audience smiling and clapping – it’s a great feeling.”

Beth Gore, 24, plays Princess Aurora and worked in an office until she embarked on a singing career two years ago.

She said: “I’d advise people if they want to do something, they should just go for it.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills, said: “The pantomime is always great fun for all the family, and I am delighted to say this year’s production of Sleeping Beauty is one of the very best yet.”

Dancers for the show are from SLP College in Garforth.

Billy Pearce.

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