Panto returns to Sunderland Empire with Cinderella

� COPYRIGHT PHOTOGRAPH: EGGSHELL BLUE / DIRK VAN DER WERFF 2013

� COPYRIGHT PHOTOGRAPH: EGGSHELL BLUE / DIRK VAN DER WERFF 2013

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HAVE a ball this Christmas as panto returns to the Empire.

The High Street West theatre has announced that it will stage Cinderella in December after the success of last year’s panto.

Peter Pan, which starred Emmerdale’s Tom Lister, was a return to panto form at the Empire after it chose to stage musicals over the festive period in 2010 and 2011.

Despite glowing reviews, there were fears a panto would not come back this year after Peter Pan tickets sales were not as theatre bosses had hoped.

But they have decided to stick with tradition and bring the family favourite to the Empire.

Cinderella will be staged by Martin Dodd for UK Productions, one of the country’s leading producers of musical theatre and pantomime, and the company behind last year’s Peter Pan panto.

It has not yet been announced who will star in the classic story of Cinderella who dreams of escaping her life of drudgery.

But the show, for which tickets will go on sale from Monday, promises lavish sets and costumes, as well as Shetland ponies.

Ben Phillips, Sunderland Empire general manager, said: “We are delighted to be hosting pantomime again at the Sunderland Empire this Christmas.

“The response to Peter Pan was fantastic and we’re really looking forward to working with UK Productions once again and building on the success of last year’s panto.”

Cinderella runs at the Empire from December 13 – January 5, with tickets priced £10 to £25, Tel. 0844 871 3022 or visit www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland.

The return of the pantomime last year ended a two-year stint of stage musicals. The tradition had been ditched in 2010 for White Christmas and in 2011 for Legally Blonde. Peter Pan was also the last pantomime to be staged at the theatre in 2009.

Twitter: @SunEchoKaty