News Story

The countdown to this year's pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk is almost over! The stage is set, and our cast are in final rehearsals for opening night this Friday.

With magic beans and chickens all over the walls, and our canopy twinkling with lights from the Christmas trees, there is a real festive buzz at Oxford Playhouse that we cannot wait to share with audiences!

Behind the scenes, our magical set has been constructed and final touches are being made to wigs and costumes, as well as a 10-foot giant waiting in the wings. We are so looking forward to welcoming audiences to a show that is so full of beans!

Before the curtain goes up on the land of Oxenford, we took a trip to the Old Fire Station to take photos of our cast in their dazzling costumes.

To get everyone in the panto spirit, keep reading to meet our sparkling cast...

Max Guest with his hands on hips, smiling. He wears a purple and orange waistcoat with a floral shirt.
Credit: Geraint Lewis

Max Guest as Jack Dairy

Max joins The Playhouse panto as our title character, the poor hapless Jack Dairy who, as the tale goes, gets into trouble with his mum for selling the family for a handful of old beans.

He graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2022, where he performed as Malcolm in Macbeth and Caiaphas the Elder in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.

Other credits include George in How To Kill Foxes at the Drayton Arms Theatre, and the percussionist in the festive production of Snow White at the Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury.

Dumile Sibanda was her hands on her hips, smiling. She wears a plaid shirt with mobile phone patterned overalls on top.
Credit: Geraint Lewis

Dumile Sibanda as Jill

Dumile makes her panto debut as Jill, a chicken farmer who has taken on the daring task of village detective.

Graduating from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Dumile has recently performed as Woodnut in Carl Grose’s Robin Hood: The Legend. Rewritten. (Regents Park Open Air Theatre) directed by Melly Still.

Credits also include Nina in The Three Seagulls (Bristol Old Vic) directed by Sally Cookson; Gretel in Insane Root Theatre’s Hansel and Gretel, and Ava in Rock, Paper, Scissors (Sheffield Theatres) directed by Anthony Lau, Robert Hasties and Elin Schofield.

Alasdair Buchan dressed as a Dame. He wears a blue tulle night dress with a fluffy pink collar. He wears a silky looking head dress on with swiss roles round the edge.
Credit: Geraint Lewis

Alasdair Buchan as Dame Mary

Having appalled and disgusted audiences as ugly sister Bellina in last year’s pantomime Cinderella, we are thrilled to have Alasdair back for a second time as our Panto Dame! This time with trusty cow in tow as he takes the stage as Dame Mary from the Dairy. She's not only Jack's mother, but also an ice cream extraordinaire who is left devastated when Jack sells her pride and joy, Eileen, for a handful of old beans.

Alasdair trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and has just finished touring the country in Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain (Birmingham Stage Company.) His theatre credits include The Da Vinci Code (World Premiere, UK Tour); Stephen Daldry’s An Inspector Calls (UK Tour); Séance (The Other Palace); Sherlock Holmes and the Crimson Cobbles (The Theatre, Chipping Norton & Tour); Night Must Fall (Salisbury Playhouse and UK Tour); A Little History of the World (World Premiere, Watermill Theatre and Tour).

Heather Porte wearing a hippie style outfit with her hand on her hip.
Credit: Geraint Lewis

Heather Porte as Susan

Heather also returns to The Playhouse after spending the summer touring Oxfordshire in our Playhouse Plays Out Tent production of Mind The Monsters. She plays Slightly Fragile Susan, Jack's sister and Dame Mary's preferred child.

Heather, who trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts is an actor, puppeteer, voiceover artist and facilitator. Her credits include The Lost Present (Topsy Turvy Theatre), Ringo (NFTS Short), Christina Modestou’s A Night At The Musicals (Soloist at Southwark Playhouse), Ensemble Choir (BBC Proms).

Madison Swan with a surprised look on her face. She has fair wings and wears a purple coloured iridescent dress.
Credit: Geraint Lewis

Madison Swan as Fairy Foxglove

Madison Swan stars as the semi-retired Fairy Foxglove of the Magical Services and Wishes Come True Helpline, here to help with the GIANT trouble in Oxenford.

Madison trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Her theatre credits include Pageant Rosemarie in Miss Wales (Theatre Clwyd/National Theatre Studios); Ensemble/US Killer Queen in We Will Rock You (London Coliseum); Fairy God Mother in Cinderella (DeMonfort Hall); Ensemble in Saving Grace (Riverside Studios); Kinky Boots The Musical, Concert (Theatre Royal Drury Lane); Princess Diana in Tony! The Musical (Park Theatre) written by Harry Hill and Steve Brown; Martha in Heathers The Musical (West End); Ugandan Ensemble in The Book of Mormon (West End); Rafiki in Mickey and the Magician, Original Cast (Disneyland Paris).

Robin Hemmings in a long black wig with his mouth open and hands clawed to either side of his face.
Credit: Geraint Lewis

Robin Hemmings as Hendrix The Horrible

Robin also returns for his second pantomime at Oxford Playhouse, after playing Fairy in last year's Cinderella. This year, he'll be playing our wicked villain, Hendrix The Horrible. Brother of the giant who lives atop the beanstalk, Hendrix is a kleptomaniac and virtuoso guitar player.

Robin has worked on several different projects with Oxford Playhouse, including : Ready Steady Colour, Bath Time, The Wright Brothers, and One Small Step. Other theatre credits include All that Rubbish, Jason and The Argonauts, Oh Yes It Is, This Island’s Mine, The Great Big Story Mix Up, Luna (Roustabout); Sam Snape and The Curse of the Chillesford Chough, Prudencia Hart (Eastern Angles); Oi Frog (Pins and Needles) Horrible Histories (Birmingham Stage) Ready Steady Go, Ready Steady Lift Off (A Line Art); Incredible Journeys, Snow and Tell (The Story Museum, Oxford); The Macbeth Curse (PrimeTheatre/Octagon, Bolton).

Mared Lewis and Harry Jack in blue sequin jumpsuits
Credit: Geraint Lewis

Mared Lewis & Harry Jack as our Ensemble

Mared Lewis and Harry Jack join our cast as the Ensemble, playing an array of wacky panto characters, like a pair of village policeman, ice cream factory workers and would be detectives alongside their friend, Jill.

Mared trained at the Performance Preparation Academy and is making her professional panto debut. Her credits include Penny Pingleton in Hairspray
(Gaiety Theatre), Ensemble/Swing/ Dance Captain in Billionaire Boy (UK Tour) and Ensemble/Swing/Dance Captain in Gangsta Granny UK Tour (Garrick Theatre, West End).

Harry Jack trained at Arts Ed and has a BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre. His recent credits include Ensemble/Cover Enjolras in Les Miserables (West End); Bennett in Colloquium; Vocalist in Frank and Friends - The Music of Frank Wildhorn, and featured as a vocalist at The Olivier Awards 2022 (Royal Albert Hall).