Panto favourites set for Hastings return

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Panto favourites Ben Watson and Tim McArthur will be back on stage in Hastings this Christmas.

They have been confirmed as cast members in The Magical Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan, the first pantomime under new operators The Guildhall Trust and marking the start of a new partnership with pantomime producers Polka Dot Productions.

Spokeswoman Rosie Field said: “The confirmed casting of Tim McArthur and Ben Watson will please loyal followers of the White Rock’s pantomime as they return for another year of bringing Christmas joy to the local area. McArthur will reveal his darker side as the evil Captain Hook, with Watson as his loyal first mate Smee in Ben’s 12th White Rock pantomime appearance.”

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Ben said: “I am really looking forward to hoisting the main sail, raising the anchor and setting sail for the White Rock Theatre this Christmas or should that be the White Rock Theat-arrr?! Anyway, I’m delighted to be back, reprising the role of Smee in the pirate panto production perfect for Hastings, Peter Pan. And this time I’m bad! Okay technically I’m a baddie, but not really, just following Captain’s orders. Does that make me a Smeeny Meany?”

Ben and Tim (contributed pic)Ben and Tim (contributed pic)
Ben and Tim (contributed pic)

Tim added: “I am delighted to be returning to Hastings this December for my seventh season, to be reunited with my close chum Ben Watson. But this time, we are bad!

“I love performing at the White Rock Theatre. It now feels like a home from home. After being Fairy Godmother last year in Cinderella I cannot wait to be bad, crossing to the dark side, entering stage left and causing lots of trouble for Peter Pan! Boooo! Please don't boo me!

“I am very much looking forward to working alongside the new operators Guildhall Trust and new producers Polka Dot. Tick tock, time will fly make sure you book your tickets…"

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Customers are encouraged to hook their tickets early this year via the venue’s early-bird ticket offer, with £2 off all tickets booked before July 31 2024. The Magical Pantomime Adventures of Peter Pan runs from December 13- 31. More information about school performances, ticket prices and availability on 01424 462280 or emailing [email protected].

Tim McArthur is an actor, presenter, playwright and theatre director. His acting credits include Demetrius in Eurovision Your Decision 2024 (Kings Head Theatre) Eurovision Your Decision 2023, (Wonderville) Cook in Queens Laundry UK Tour for the Toy Project. Baker in Into the Woods and soloist in A Perfect Christmas (Cockpit); In Gay Company (RADA); Bathhouse and The Silence of the Lambs (Above the Stag); Assassins (Pleasance); Blair on Broadway (Arts); Company (Westcliff); Forever Plaid (UK tour); South Pacific (Aberystwyth); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Chelmsford and Middlesbrough); Godspell (Millfield); As You Like It (Colchester); Another Country and Twelfth Night (Catford); You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow and The Golden Key (Greenwich); Fred Astaire: His Daughter’s Tribute (London Palladium); and Dame in Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Dick Whittington and Cinderella (Hereford).

Ben Watson trained at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and the National Youth Theatre. Over the past decade, he is proud to have appeared as the comic at The White Rock Theatre. Previous pantomimes include Aladdin, Beauty and The Beast, Cinderella, Dick Whittington, Peter Pan, Robin Hood and Sleeping Beauty. He has also directed five Summer Youth Projects at the theatre.

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