Sleeping Beauty Beccles
The cast of Sleeping Beauty, which will be performed at Beccles Public Hall this Christmas. Credit: James Norman at Charlotte James Photography.

Prepare to be spellbound this Christmas as a Beccles stage becomes the backdrop for one of the most celebrated fairy tales.

Spark Live Pantomines will be returning to the Public Hall for the fourth year running, to present Sleeping Beauty during a 12 performance run, beginning on December 21.

Audiences will be treated to the classic story of Princess Aurora, who is cursed by evil and later falls asleep for 100 years, after touching the spindle of an enchanted spinning wheel.

With only a kiss as the cure, expect a tale of love conquering all, alongside some slapstick comedy, popular songs and a huge sprinkling of fairy dust.

After thrilling crowds during 2017’s pantomime Robin Hood, Daniel Hanton is back by popular demand as Dame Victoria Sponge, while his partner in crime, comedian Ross Chenery, will play his son Muddles.

Christian Manderfield will switch from last year’s role as the Sheriff of Nottingham to Sleeping Beauty’s father King Bumble and Laura Watling will provide some festive magic as Fairy Lights.



Thom Bailey, who is also directing, will hang up Friar Tuck’s robes to play the villainous Carabosse, Rebecca Jillings once again takes on the title role, while Matthew Squance is debuting for Spark Live as Aurora’s one true love Prince William.

Producer Ryan Holt said he was astounded by the interest that this year’s production had already garnered.

“We ran an early bird offer for tickets and the uptake so far has been phenomenal, which is testament to how much people loved Robin Hood. Now we are putting our all into making sure that this year is even bigger and better.

“We have got nearly all the cast back, which I know many will have been hoping for, so expect special effects, outrageous routines and some extremely dodgy cooking thanks to Dame Victoria Sponge!”

Sleeping Beauty runs from December 21 to December 31 at Beccles Public Hall.

A family ticket for two adults and two children is £42, adults are £12.50, children, £10.50 and concessions are £11.50.

To book tickets call the box office on 01502 770060, or visit www.becclespublichall.com

Seasoned performers to take principal roles in Beccles pantomime.

When it comes to theatre credentials Rebecca Jillings and Matthew Squance have an extensive catalogue.

And this Christmas the multi-talented duo are uniting on a Beccles stage to play two classic pantomime characters.

Sleeping Beauty is being performed at the town’s Public Hall from December 21 to 31, with Rebecca taking on the title role and Matthew, Prince William.

It is Rebecca’s second year playing the lead for Spark Live Pantomimes, while Matthew is joining the cast for the first time.

The pair are no strangers to live shows, having starred in a huge range of pantomimes, musicals and other productions.

Matthew has also written and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, while Rebecca sings for well-known bands such as Joe Ringer.

“I remember being about six and wanting to be a film director,” said Matthew.

“But due to a clerical error when I was choosing my GCSE’s I was enrolled on the drama course. It was a happy accident, as I loved it.”

Matthew took theatre and performance studies at A Level, and at just 19 he wrote and performed a one-man show at the Edinburgh Fringe.

He also took two original pantomimes to the Scottish festival, unleashing his love of the genre.

“I haven’t been in a pantomime for a couple of years, but I thought, why not. Everyone has been so friendly and judging by the script and rehearsals it’s going to be a hoot.”

Rebecca studied drama at high school and musical theatre at Norwich’s City College, where she discovered her love for singing.

An audition for Norwich Mixed Voices opened up the city’s theatre network and a flurry of roles followed, including shows for Sound Ideas Theatre Company and the Norfolk and Norwich Operatic Society.

“I loved playing Robin Hood and through working with Spark Live I’ve made some great friends,” said Rebecca.

“Sleeping Beauty won’t be meek, she’s going to have a playful aspect to her. It’s actually my first professional pantomime playing a girl, so it’s going to be interesting being pretty and demure, rather than coming on the stage slapping my thigh!”