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EastEnders and Strictly favourite Maisie Smith to star in the Marlowe Theatre’s Beauty and the Beast

The Marlowe Theatre is thrilled to announce the cast of its 2024 pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, with EastEnders and Strictly star, Maisie Smith making her pantomime debut.


Joining the Strictly finalist in this magical show will be CBeebies’ Mister Maker Phil Gallagher – back for his sixth year – and the iconic Ben Roddy, who is returning for his 16th year in the Marlowe Theatre Pantomime.


Adding their superb talent to the cast are Richard David-Caine (CBBC’s Horrible Histories and Class Dismissed), Tyler Collins (CBeebies’ Swashbuckle), Jocasta Almgill (Dreamgirls, & Juliet) and Joseph Hewlett (Madagascar the Musical).


Once again, Beauty and the Beast will be written and directed by Paul Hendy and produced by the Marlowe Theatre and Evolution Productions, the same team behind the 5-star Box Office smash-hit Aladdin, which was the biggest winner at this year’s UK Pantomime Awards. 


Opening in Canterbury on Friday 22 November and running until Sunday 12 January, the high demand for tickets has already seen the show extended by eight performances.


Maisie Smith is perhaps best known for her role of Tiffany Butcher in EastEnders from 2008 to 2014, with subsequent guest appearances on the series ever since.  Maisie made her acting debut playing a young Elizabeth in feature film The Other Boleyn Girl, alongside Scarlett Johansson and Eddie Redmayne, the same year Maisie stormed into Albert Square.


Maisie has won both ‘Best Dramatic Performance from a Young Actress’ at the British Soap Awards, along with ‘Best Young Actor’ from the Inside Soap Awards.


She also featured in the 2020 series of Strictly Come Dancing, reaching the series final with professional partner Gorka Marquez. She has since starred in stage shows, Strictly Ballroom: The Musical and Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, as well as being one of four finalists in the fourth series of Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins


She said: “It’s so exciting to be making my pantomime debut at the Marlowe Theatre, as it’s got such a fantastic reputation across the country. The cast are all such lovely people and audiences are going to adore each and every one of them.


“I can’t wait to spend Christmas in Canterbury – it’s such a magical place and the audiences here are the best!”


Ben Roddy will also be back, having enjoyed his 1,000th performance as the Marlowe Theatre Dame during last year’s Aladdin and winning Best Dame at the UK Pantomime Awards for his role in the show, his second award after also winning for Peter Pan in 2018.


Mister Maker himself, Phil Gallagher, will also return to the Marlowe this year. The BAFTA-nominated performer has become one of CBeebies’ most beloved characters since it first aired in 2007, and the Mister Maker YouTube channel, which has over 1.5 million followers.  


The Marlowe Theatre’s Chief Executive Deborah Shaw said: “With a multi-award- winning creative team, a brilliant cast and the best Dame in the land (officially!), this year’s Beauty and the Beast is looking set to be an unmissable treat for all the family.”  


Writer and Director, Paul Hendy, of Evolution Productions (who won Best Script at the UK Pantomime Awards for Aladdin) added: “We’re thrilled to have such a stellar cast at the Marlowe Theatre again. 

“Evolution Productions is very proud to be celebrating its 20th anniversary of producing pantomimes with the Marlowe Theatre… we’re going to make sure every performance is the biggest party in town!”


Beauty and the Beast will be at the Marlowe Theatre from Friday 22 November and will run until Sunday 12 January, with various performance times. Tickets can be booked at or via the Box Office on 01227 787787.


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