Oh yes it is! Panto returns to Barking thanks to Studio 3 Arts and CBeebies Ashley J

Ashley J from CBeebies has teamed up with Liza Vallance for the performance. Picture: Sav Betton

Ashley J from CBeebies has teamed up with Liza Vallance for the performance. Picture: Sav Betton - Credit: Archant

Panto is back with a socially distanced performance of The Princess and the Pea promising “escapism, fun and creativity”.

Liza Vallance directs The Princess and the Pea at Eastbury Manor House in Barking. Picture: Saira Aw

Liza Vallance directs The Princess and the Pea at Eastbury Manor House in Barking. Picture: Saira Awan - Credit: Archant

Studio 3 Arts said it is delighted to announce its adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytale will be brought to the stage.

The show is due to be staged at Eastbury Manor House in Barking for groups of up to six people and is a new version directed by artistic director Liza Vallance, adapted by artist Ashley J and including a cast of three.

Liza said: “I’m so excited that despite the restrictions we find ourselves in, Studio 3 Arts will still be bringing our annual magical Christmas show to our audiences in 2020.

“I love The Princess and The Pea – although as you’ll expect from us, the story will be told with our usual trademark quirky style.

Rose-Marie Christian is among the cast. Picture: Studio 3 Arts

Rose-Marie Christian is among the cast. Picture: Studio 3 Arts - Credit: Archant


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“It’s going to be an intimate affair with no more than 20 people in the audience at any one time, to adhere to distancing guidelines and to create a unique theatre experience for all ages.

“I think we need theatre more this year than ever – escapism, fun, creativity and a great story to get wrapped up in,” she added.

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The famous fairytale tells the story of a prince who dreams up a test involving mattresses and a pea in a bid to find the perfect princess.

Liza has worked with Split Britches, Augusto Boal, Ali Campbell and Proteus Theatre. In 2019 she fundraised £1.2million to transform Studio 3 Arts’ home.

Ashley J is an actor, presenter and writer whose credits include All About the McKenzies, Lenny Henry’s Funny Black Singles, and EastEnders.

Both Liza and Ashley worked on Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice for Studio 3 Arts. Ashley is currently in Jojo & Gran Gran on CBeebies.

The cast includes Rose Marie Christian whose past credits include Still Life, Dogana and On the Edge; Razak Osman, a dancer and actor who has performed with Boy Blue at Sadlers Wells and the Barbican. Will Frazer who recently performed in Lord of War and Do Not Pop completes the cast.

The Princess and the Pea runs from December 10 to 20. Times vary. Visit studio3arts.org.uk for details.

Tickets cost £10 to £7.

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