News Story

Oxford Playhouse is delighted to spill the beans on the cast of its glittering pantomime, Jack & the Beanstalk, opening Friday 24 November 2023

Oxford Playhouse is thrilled to announce the cast for its spectacular family pantomime, Jack & The Beanstalk, which plays on the main stage this festive season. Written by Jack Counsel and directed by Toby Hulse, this Oxford Playhouse production opens on Friday 24 November 2023 and runs until Sunday 7 January 2024.

A strong ensemble cast features Madison Swan as Fairy Foxglove, Alasdair Buchan as the Dame, Max Guest as Jack, Dumile Sibanda as Jill, Heather Porte as Susan, and Robin Hemmings as Hendrix The Horrible. Mared Lewis and Harry Jack complete the professional ensemble. Two brilliant Young Companies, featuring local performers aged 11 to 15, who auditioned for a place, support the professional cast.

Jack & The Beanstalk is directed by Toby Hulse, with set & costume design by Anthony Lamble, and associate costume design by Ani Stafford-Townsend and Immy Howard. Steve Allan Jones is the composer and arranger with Darren Reeves as music consultant. Rae Piper and Paul Chantry from Chantry Dance Company join Oxford Playhouse for the first time as show choreographers.

Poor Jack can’t seem to help getting into trouble with his mum. Now he’s really landed himself in it by selling the family cow to a stranger for a handful of old beans. But hang on a minute! Those mysterious beans have started to grow…and grow… and GROW!

Join Jack and his friends on an adventure of a lifetime, as they scale the beanstalk and take on a Giant.

After making audiences laugh and boo as Bellina in last year’s pantomime Cinderella, Alasdair Buchan returns to The Playhouse as this year’s dame, Mary from the Dairy. Alasdair trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and has just finished touring the country in Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain (Birmingham Stage Company.) Madison Swan makes her debut for Oxford Playhouse to play Fairy Foxglove. Madison trained at Mountview and is currently part of the ensemble for The Book of Mormon, at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

Max Guest plays the titular character Jack Dairy. Max graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2022, before starring as George in How to Kill Foxes at the Drayton Arms Theatre. Dumile Sibanda stars as Jill. Dumile’s credits include Woodnut/Robin Hood in Robin Hood the Legend, Rewritten at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, and Leilah in the UK Tour of Birds and Bees.

Heather Porte joins the cast as Susan. Heather returns to Oxford Playhouse after playing Hope in the hugely popular Playhouse Plays Out Tent production of Mind The Monsters which travelled to community sites around Oxfordshire throughout the summer.

Taking on many forms as the Fairy in last year’s Playhouse pantomime, Robin Hemmings also returns as Hendrix the Horrible. Other credits include Simply Simon in the 2021 Christmas Panto Oh Yes It Is! with his own company, Roustabout Theatre.

Harry Jack makes up the Ensemble alongside this year’s Dance Captain Mared Lewis. Mared was Previously Onstage Swing/ DC/Understudy in the UK Tour of David Walliams' Gangsta Granny. She is trained in Ballet, Tap, Folk, and Jazz, as well as being fluent in Welsh! Harry Jack graduated from Arts Ed in 2022 and is currently part of the Ensemble (Enjolras cover) for Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre in London. He has also appeared at the Olivier Awards.

After sparkling directorial success in 2022’s pantomime Cinderella, Toby Hulse returns to Oxford Playhouse for Jack & the Beanstalk. His previous work for Oxford Playhouse includes One Small Step, The Wright Brothers, Bath Time, Tea Time and Bed Time. He has made work for Bristol Old Vic; Polka; the egg; Derby Theatre; Theatr Clwyd; Watermill, Newbury; Leeds Playhouse; The Theatre, Chipping Norton; Lakeside Arts, Nottingham; Birmingham Old Rep; Southwark Playhouse; The Theatre Shop, Clevedon; The Point, Eastleigh; ALine Art; Bristol Old Vic Theatre School; and Goat and Monkey. Toby is one quarter of Roustabout, a Bristol-based theatre company that tours new work to theatres, schools, and community venues. Roustabout’s recent productions include Dinosaurs and All That Rubbish, This Island’s Mine, Luna and The Great Big Story Mix Up, an improvised storytelling show for children, in which he performs.

As an Oxford Playhouse pantomime, Jack & the Beanstalk will be full of infectious laughter, brilliant storytelling, singing, dancing, cheering for the goodies and booing for the baddies.

Cast & Creative


Max Guest as Jack Dairy
Alasdair Buchan as Dame Mary
Heather Porte as Susan
Dumile Sibanda as Jill
Robin Hemming as Hendrix the Horrible
Madison Swan as Fairy Goxglove
Mared Lewis as Ensemble and Dance Captain
Harry Jack as Ensemble

Creative Team

Director: Toby Hulse
Assistant Director: Lauren Carter
Set and Costume Designer: Anthony Lamble
Associate Costume Designer: Immy Howard
Associate Costume Designer/Costume Supervisor: Ani Stafford-Townsend
Composer and Arranger: Steve Allan Jones
Lighting Designer: Ashley Bale
Associate Lighting Designer: Will Hayman
Sound Designer: Chris Humpries
Musical Consultant: Darren Reeves
Choreographer: Rae Piper
Choreographer: Paul Chantry
Prop Supervisor/Maker: Scott Thompson
Wardrobe Mistress: Immy Howard