Beauty and the Beast has won Best Staging and Set at the Great British Pantomime Awards which took place at new Wimbledon Theatre on Sunday. The star-studded family pantomime was co-produced by Derby LIVE and Little Wolf Entertainment and staged at Derby Arena last Christmas. The team is also pleased to announce that the winner of the Best Baddie award Lawrence Bootham will be starring in this year’s panto Jack and the Beanstalk. He won the award for his performance as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood at Loughborough Town Hall.

Producers Littlewolf came on board last year and in the first year of this new partnership with Derby LIVE the pantomime has proved to be the most successful yet at Derby Arena with more than 30,000 people seeing Beauty and the Beast over the festive season, including more than 13,000 children.

As well as winning Best Staging and Set beating Queens Theatre Hornchurch, Theatre Royal, Stratford East, Salisbury Playhouse and Bracknell Southill Parks Art Centre, Beauty and the Beast was also nominated in three other categories; Best Script, Best Special Effects (for the Beast’s transformation) and Best Pantomime of the year 1500 + seats.

These national accolades are a testament to the quality of the pantomime. Derby Arena was nominated alongside venues such as London Palladium and Birmingham Hippodrome for the Best Pantomime of the year 1500+ seats award.

Alan Bowles co-producer at Little Wolf Entertainment, said:

“We’ve got a few exciting casting announcements to come soon so keep your eyes peeled, Lawrence Boothman (left) who won Best Male Baddie at Sunday’s ceremony will be playing the Giant’s wicked henchman Cesspit in this years’ production at the Arena so out audiences are in for a massive treat!”

Lawrence trained at Glasgow Academy of Musical Theatre and Arts and he has also has starred in a number of theatre productions and national tours.

Little Wolf’s co-founder and producer, and Beauty and The Beast’s own Betty Brioche, Morgan Brind is the winner of the award for his wonderful staging and set design. The stage and set transformed the vast Arena into a glittering and magical theatre and whisked the audience from the streets of Spondon on the Seine to the inside of the Beast’s enchanted castle via a spooky woodland with ingenious use of a revolving stage.

Morgan Brind and Alan Bowles left to right
Morgan Brind and Alan Bowles left to right

Little Wolf Entertainment producer Morgan Brind said on winning the award:

“I’m hugely grateful to the Great British Pantomime Awards for this award and I’m excited and honoured that the work of everyone involved in our production of Beauty and the Beast at Derby Arena has been recognised in this way. My co-producer Alan and I both work throughout the year on creating the best show possible and it’s lovely to see work made here in Derby recognised on a national level.”

“I couldn’t be more excited to be back with Jack and the Beanstalk this Christmas and plans are already well under way. It’s a title that really allows us to embrace the scale of the fabulous Arena theatre, and having also been nominated for Best Special Effect for last year, the pressure is on to deliver something even bigger and better.  It’s going to be a really giant of a Panto!”

These nominations mark the success of the new partnership between Derby LIVE and Little Wolf Entertainment, who have come together to create this phenomenal show. The partnership continues this year to produce Jack and the Beanstalk, the new and exciting pantomime for 2018.

Peter Ireson, Head of Culture and Business Development at Derby City Council, said:

“It’s fantastic that the first year working with Little Wolf Entertainment has been so successful. To secure this national award and three other national award nominations shows just how much we have raised the bar. We are all looking forward to this year’s panto Jack and the Beanstalk”

Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 Derby LIVE pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk. Marvellous moosic, cow-ntless costumes and an udderly ridiculous dame with giant-sized jokes!

The villagers of Dappy Darley on the Derwent are under threat from a ginormous giant! Poor young Jack has his head in the clouds, but when he sells his beloved cow Pat for just a handful of beans he begins a huge adventure which takes him to new heights. Once again Derby Arena will be transformed into a magical theatre space, with a star cast, spectacular pyrotechnics and amazing special effects. It will bring together sensational sets and costumes, hilarious comedy, fabulous music and dazzling dance routines, as well as the audience participation that makes pantomime magical.

Jack and the Beanstalk will be on stage at Derby Arena from Saturday 8th December until Saturday 5th January 2019, tickets priced from £14.75 with concessions, group, school and family tickets available. Customers can save £2 with the Early Bird offer when booking tickets before Thursday 1st November, with other savings available. With hundreds of seats already booked, it’s never too early to book for this fantastic festive treat.