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South Hill Park

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Acclaimed writer Joyce Branagh pens this year’s pantomime

September 13, 2018

Acclaimed writer Joyce Branagh has lovingly crafted the original script for this year’s South Hill Park pantomime Dick Whittington and His Cat (Fri 30 Nov 2018 – Sat 5 Jan 2019).

Sister of South Hill Park’s patron, Kenneth Branagh, Joyce can trace back South Hill Park’s impact on her to the start of her career:

“I directed one of my first ever productions in South Hill Park’s Studio Theatre – Lettice and Lovage, over 20 years ago – so I’ve got a soft spot for South Hill Park. I’m so excited to be writing the pantomime – I’m from Reading and it feels like I’m writing for ‘home’ and my friends and family can come and see it.”

Joyce explains why she can’t wait to get started on this project:

I really love pantomime. I’ve directed ten pantos, performed in two, and written three, as well as co-writing a book about pantomime.  It’s not quite an obsession… but I really enjoy the daftness, the jokes, the glitter, the songs, the outrageous costumes and the interaction with the audience. I love the fact that if you get it right, it really is a proper family show – everyone from kids to grannies get to let their hair down and be silly.  There’s nothing better than seeing a whole theatre full of people belly laugh, or hear them shouting out ‘he’s behind you’ at the top of their lungs. It’s hard to explain to people who’ve never been, but the whole thing becomes infectious, and you somehow find yourself joining in when you had absolutely no intention of doing so. It’s just a great big shiny escape from the real world for a couple of hours, and we all need that sometimes, don’t we?”

Dick Whittington And His Cat will your warm heart with laughter and whisk you away to a magical world, filled with songs, dancing and storytelling like no other.

To book your tickets click this link

More About Joyce Branagh

Joyce is a Writer, Director, and Actor.  As a writer, her work includes the plays: Sheepish,  Peggy and the Spaceman, and Shame The Devil (24:7 Theatre Festival, Manchester); For The Record (Forest Forge Theatre Co); Dick Whittington and his Cat and Jack and the Beanstalk, (Watford Palace Theatre); and Boomtown Gals (Oldham Coliseum & tour).  She has co-written a book with Keith Orton: ‘Creating Pantomime’.  This Christmas she will be directing Aladdin for the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield.  For more information about Joyce, please visit her website

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