Olivier Award winner Sharon D Clarke will return to the Hackney Empire this Christmas as she joins Clive Rowe, Debbie Kurup and Kat B in the venue’s annual pantomime Jack And The Beanstalk.
Clarke, who appeared in Hackney’s 2014 festive offering Mother Goose, will play the Voice of Davina alongside breakdancing cows, bonkers baddies and a scary giant in the production from 21 November to 3 January.
Now a regular at the east London venue come Christmas time, having also appeared in 2013’s Puss In Boots, Clarke has also earned plaudits for her performances elsewhere in Theatreland where she has appeared in productions including the West End’s Ghost The Musical and The Amen Corner at the National Theatre, for which she won an Olivier Award.
Alongside the previously announced trio – Rowe, Kurup and Kat B – the cast will also include Hackney panto returnees Jocelyn Jee Esien (Aladdin), Tony Timberlake (Mother Goose, Puss In Boots and Aladdin), Darren Hart (Mother Goose) and Leon Sweeney (Puss In Boots, Dick Whittington, Jack And The Beanstalk and Mother Goose).
They are joined by venue debutants Julia Sutton (Sister Act, London Palladium), Lori Barker (Juicy Bits, Orange Tree Theatre), Frances Dee (Matilda The Musical, West End), Dale White (Bugsy Malone, Lyric Hammersmith), Emanuel Alba, Katie Shearman and Jonathan Prestney.
Further casting – including the performer who will give voice to the show’s terrifying, beanstalk-dwelling giant – is still to be announced.
Set in Hackneydale, where 15 years of perpetual winter have caused the kingdom to start feeling the pinch, Susie McKenna’s 2015 panto follows the stories of Jack And The Beanstalk’s two most infamous characters. There’s the young and earnest Jack, who’s tempted by a mysterious stranger into trading the family’s trusty cow for a handful of magic beans, and then, of course, there’s the huge scary giant whose inventions for making gold are destroying the Earth.
Jack And The Beanstalk is the latest festive frolic from Hackney Empire’s Creative Director McKenna, whose madcap Christmas productions have been entertaining audiences at the venue for more than a decade.
Prior to the pantomime’s run in November, a few of the cast members have been getting into character at a special photoshoot. Find out what happens when their less than light-footed co-star doesn’t get an invite in the video above.