Duggie pulls off three theatrical crackers

Duggie Chapman
Duggie Chapman
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Theatre producer Duggie Chapman is celebrating the festive season - after three record breaking runs across the north.

The Blackpool-based impressario was at the helm of shows in Preston, Bolton and in Billingham.

The Preston show was a last-minute arrangement, as pantomime preparations go, with the Charter Theatre up for sale for much of last year.

But Duggie was brought on-board in the summer to stage Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.

As the old theatrical adage goes, the show must go on, with Duggie calling on the cast he used in Billingham, in the North East, the previous year.

“They had just been taken over, and decided to do a pantomime so offered it to us in the summer,” he said.

“We brought in the show we had done in Billingham, Jimmy Cricket starred as Muddles there and it had gone really well.”

Comic Cricket was joined in the cast by Blackpool-based singer Kristina Castellina as Snow White and Pete Lindup as the dame Sarah The Cook.

“We even had the same group of dwarfs - there are not that many dwarfs now so we were lucky with relatively short notice,” Duggie added.

And luckily the show experienced a successful run at the venue, whish was bought by Simon Rigby’s Villa Group, owners of The Villa at Wrea Green.

“It was a big thing for the owners to do, and fortunately it paid off,” he said.

There were also celebrated productions at Bolton Albert Halls, where local comic Stu Francis headed the cast of Cinderella, and Benidorm actor Jake Canuso starred as Abanazer in Billingham’s Aladdin.

Sadly, tragedy hit the cast in Bolton, where panto veteran Stephen Howe, playing one of the Ugly Sisters, died leaving cast members in shock.

At the time, Duggie paid tribute to the ‘much-loved’ performer.

Looking forward into 2015, Duggie will present his Palladium Nights film show at Lowther Pavilion, Lytham, on Wednesday, February 25 at 2.30pm.

The ‘Great Stars of the 1950s’ show includes more than 30 clips from the early years of the variety era, and is hailed as ‘damp-eye nostalgia that leaves you with a warm and sentimental glow’. Tickets cost £8. And on Friday, March 20, the same venue will host the We’ll Meet Again celebration of wartime entertainment.

Call (01253) 794221 for tickets.