Meet this year's Sunderland Empire panto cast as they get ready to bring some festive cheer

The Sunderland Empire panto is back – and the cast are getting ready to spellbind audiences.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 5:02 pm
Cast members from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs attend the photo-call at the Sunderland Empire Picture: DAVID WOOD

Last year’s pantomime couldn’t take place because of the pandemic, but after the Empire has reopened following an 18-month closure, the annual tradition is back in all its glory.

The cast of Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs have been at the Empire this week to try on their costumes and familiarise themselves with their home this Christmas.

Leading the cast is panto veteran Su Pollard who’ll be casting a spell as the Wicked Queen.

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Su Pollard as the Wicked Queen

Su, who’s graced the Empire stage in previous pantos, said: "I am so thrilled to be back in Sunderland. You can't get a warmer welcome anywhere. What's not to love about being in a beautifully cared for theatre, with appreciative audiences and friendly, lovely people.”

With a diverse career spanning over 45 years, Su rose to fame in 1974 with her television debut on talent show Opportunity Knocks, in which she came second to a singing Jack Russell.

Whilst best known for her BAFTA Award-winning performance as Peggy in sitcom Hi-De-Hi, Su is also a seasoned panto performer starring in Pinocchio, Aladdin, Jack and the Beanstalk, Dick Whittington, Babes In The Wood, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan and Cinderella.

She’ll be joined on stage by Miss Rory, aka Dan Cunningham, well-known to audiences at Newcastle’s Boulevard cabaret club, who is set to sparkle as Nurse Rorina.

Miss Rory, aka Dan Cunningham, as Nurse Rorina,

Miss Rory said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be returning to the Empire for the ‘Canniest Panto of them All, Snow White’ as Nurse Rorina. “Snow White is a sure fire favourite for pantomime fans of all ages, and there really is something in this for everyone.”

South Shields comic Tom Whalley also returns to the Empire stage to play rib-tickling Muddles the Jester.

Meanwhile, Sunderland-born West End actress Clare Maynard plays Snow White. Her past roles include originating the role of Coco in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s brand new version of Starlight Express and Belle in Beauty & the Beast.

*Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs is at Sunderland Empire from Friday 10 December 2021 – Sunday 2 January 2022. Tickets priced from £13 are available from the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022 or online at

Tom Whalley as Muddles

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Clare Maynard as Snow White