Was this year’s big panto best ever? Oh yes it was!

The cast of the Grand panto at the launch.
The cast of the Grand panto at the launch.
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The Grand Theatre has announced record takings for what it called its best pantomime ever.

Peter Pan, which starred comedian Steve Royle, former Emmerdale actor Tom Lister, and local favourite Hayley Kay, took more than £400,000 at the box office last Christmas.

Now theatre bosses are looking forward to 2014’s 
offering, Sleeping Beauty, and hoping it’s a favourite for the Fylde coast again.

It is the second year running the theatre’s festive panto has broken records after the 2012 production of Cinderella sold 30,000 tickets – more than any other pantomime since the Victorian theatre opened its doors in 1894.

The £400,000 box office boost was good news for chief executive Ruth Eastwood, who replaced the long-serving Neil Thomson last summer.

“To take that much money was fantastic and it was a record for us,” she said.

“It was really good fun waiting to see if it broke that £400,000 mark. When it got to £399,000 we were all holding our breath but we made it over the line.

“It was a great show and extremely well received and it shows pantomime is alive and well.

“I think it demonstrates panto is definitely not outdated as a tradition.”

Radio Wave presenter Hayley, who played Mrs Darling in the show, said it was a “joy” to play a part in such a successful production.

She added: “The £400,000 mark is a massive achievement and I’m just really proud of the team.

“It’s nice to know the Fylde coast enjoyed what we put on because we had so much fun doing it.

“I’m so proud of it, it’s all about the feelgood factor and it’s nice to be a part of people’s Christmas on the Fylde coast.”

Ms Eastwood added: “If you look around Britain, pantomime holds its own and it is a great way of getting children to a theatre for the first time.

“We have Sleeping Beauty next year and fingers crossed it will do even better.”

Hayley added: “Fingers crossed I get the call to do it again this year because it’s the best way to spend Christmas.”

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