Jordan Conway as Scarecrow, Jenny Ryan as Glinda and Matt Baker as Wizard.

The world’s biggest panto is heading to Leeds - here's everything you need to know

The world's biggest panto is heading to Leeds - oh, yes it is!

Friday, 1st October 2021, 4:45 am

The Wizard of Oz will be visiting arenas across the UK including a date at the city's First Direct Arena on Monday, December 20.

The One Show presenter Matt Baker heads an all star cast which also features Jenny ‘The Vixen’ Ryan from ITV quiz show The Chase.

Tickets go on sale at 8am today (Friday, October 1) and are available via: wizardofozuk.com .

This production of The Wizard of Oz earns itself the official title of The World’s Biggest Panto as it will be performed on the world’s biggest pantomime stage - the equivalent of four London Palladiums - plus two mobile stages that will travel around the arena as the Yellow Brick Road unfolds before a 6,000 capacity audience.

Presented by World’s Biggest Productions and following previous productions of Elf, Cinderella and Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz is the brand-new spectacular Christmas show set to lift the arena panto right over the rainbow.

Matt Baker, who plays the Wizard, said: “This Christmas I'm swapping the green fields of Our Farm in the Dales for the Emerald City! I'll be an acrobatic, laser wielding wizard and I might even bring the Children in Need Rickshaw along for the ride. It's a show packed with spectacular entertainment and fun with a brilliant script and cast to boot. I can't wait for my festive tour on the yellow brick road!”

Matt is joined by TV quiz brain Jenny Ryan, in the role of Glinda.

She added: “The spectacular size of the show is breathtaking. There are giant video screens with animated computer graphic backgrounds and an ice-covered Emerald city skating scene that is magical.

“With a 10-metre tall roof there is plenty of flying with cirque stars as the crows, and the witch actually flies on a broomstick around the arena. What’s also fun is that I am known as one of telly’s top TV quizzers, yet I have to contend with a man with no brains at all.”

And the man with no brains, aka Scarecrow, is played by new comedy star Jordan Conway. Astonishingly, given the pandemic, Jordan has worked non-stop every week since May, headlining his own show at Butlins, Blackpool’s Viva cabaret bar and numerous theatre tours. Jordan is the only cast member to have appeared in all four World’s Biggest Panto arena shows.

Jordan said: “I can’t wait to get started, nothing beats the sound of thousands of family members all laughing together.”

The Wizard of Oz will also feature Kelly Balaki as Dorothy, Joe Speare as Lion and TV actor Charlie Quirke in the role of Tinman.

Charlie, who will bring an eccentric mechanical twist to the role, is best known for his role as Travis in the hugely popular TV sitcom Birds of a Feather.

He said: “I'm excited to be performing again in another spectacular World’s Biggest Panto production and touring to these great venues creating this wonderful character.”

World’s Biggest Panto is the brand name created by Jon Conway, CEO of World’s Biggest Productions Ltd, to describe the amazing concept shows they produce specially for UK arenas each Christmas season.

Jon was co-founder of QDOS Entertainment and has created more than 500 pantomime theatre shows.

“We are trying to create an event where a live stage show can encompass traditional values but also rival a big screen IMAX cinematic format," said Jon. “Since our first production of Cinderella at Birmingham in 2015 we are now producing in eight of the UK’s arenas with ever more spectacular effects and comedy each year.”

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