Actress Jessie Wallace launches Hastings panto, Cinderella

Jessie Wallace (centre) with fellow cast members Ben McMillan and Daisy Steere
Jessie Wallace (centre) with fellow cast members Ben McMillan and Daisy Steere

This year’s pantomime, Cinderella, was officially launched by Eastenders star, Jessie Wallace today (Wednesday, October 7).

She made an early visit to 1066 Country, arriving at the press launch at Bannatyne Spa Hotel in Battle Road, St Leonards, ahead of her pantomime debut in December at the White Rock Theatre in Hastings.

Jessie was joined by fellow cast members Daisy Steere, who will play Cinderella, and Ben McMillan, who stars as Prince Charming.

Adding extra magic to today’s proceedings was the arrival of two stunning white Genderlander horses pulling a Cinderella carriage, complete with coachmen supplied by Drayhorse Shires in Kent.

Also in attendance were Hastings mayor, Bruce Dowling and this year’s panto sponsors, Shades Tiles R Us.

Jessie has become a national treasure, thanks to her performance as Kat Slater in Eastenders. Her other television credits include ITV’s The Bill and Wild at Heart and her leading role in Miss Marie Lloyd - Queen of the Music Hall for BBC Four.

In 2008 she also took part in the sixth series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Jessie has also appeared in the West End productions of Rent and Haunted, as well as the 25th anniversary production of Stepping Out in the role of Sylvia.

More recently she returned to the stage playing Lil in the Theatre Royal Stratford East’s musical production of Fings Ain’t Wot they Used T’be, directed by Terry Johnson.

Speaking to the Observer, Jessie said she was looking forward to her time in Hastings.

She said: “I spent Christmas in Hastings last year, staying at a friend’s. I just love that fact that Hastings is by the sea and provides a good excuse to get out of London. I watch my friends and people I work with star in pantos every year and in the past been too busy to take part in panto myself.

“I’ve always been a bit envious of them so that’s why I wanted to take part in one this year.

“You have to take it tongue-in-cheek. It feels like playtime, unlike the other roles that I’ve played.

“We don’t start rehearsing until December and I’ll be working with my friend, who is playing one of the Ugly Sisters. It will be a really fun night for the whole family.”

Daryl Back, executive producer of Cinderella, said: “We are delighted Jessie will be joining the cast of our spectacular pantomime Cinderella in Hastings. Jessie is such a popular face on television we’re thrilled she’ll be joining us in pantoland and giving audiences at the White Rock her take on The Fairy Godmother.”

Lorna Hollister, general manager of the White Rock Theatre, said: “Each year we’ve seen the White Rock’s pantomime become more and more successful. We are very much looking forward to welcoming Jessie Wallace to the theatre and know she will be very popular with Hastings panto audiences.”

Cinderella is on at the White Rock from December 11 to 27.

For tickets visit www.whiterocktheatre.org.uk or call 01424 462288.

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