SELBY actor Luke Adamson has started rehearsals for Jack And The Beanstalk, his first York Theatre Royal pantomime since childhood days.

All these years after making his York panto debut in Beauty And The Beast, he is back on stage with dame Berwick Kaler, Martin Barrass, David Leonard, Suzy Cooper and co, playing Useless Eustace in the tale of a cow, a beanstalk and a giant.

"I was working in a café in September on a grey Monday and at my lunchtime break I was looking at my phone messages," recalls Luke, who now lives in London, pursuing his professional acting career. "There was a missed call from Damian (York Theatre Royal artistic director Damian Cruden), so I rang him back, and he sounded in a bit of a rush but simply said: 'What are you doing over the Christmas period? How about doing the panto? Someone has dropped out [Harry Hughes]...would you be up for being on a list to be put to Berwick?'. A couple of days later, I got a call to say, 'Yes, you're in it'!"

At the time of this interview, fresh from landing his role, details were sketchy as to what playing Useless Eustace would entail. "Well, from what's I've heard, I'll be villain David Leonard's sidekick, which should be good fun, and whatever it will involve, I'll throw myself into it," he said.

Not long afterwards, Luke would play "general dogsbody" to David Leonard and Suzy Cooper for comedic value in their Waiting For Panto fundraiser on October 22 that drummed up £11,000 towards the Theatre Royal's ongoing work with the community. On his return to the main-house stage from December 14, he will indeed be working in tandem with Leonard's Dr McCarb.

Luke has experience of performing pantomime in his adult years, but only the once to be precise. "I did Buttons in Cinderella in Tewkesbury in 2015-2016.

"That was the only one I've done professionally, when my agent put me up for the job and I got it," he says. "It was really great fun, a lovely job with lovely people, but having done the York Theatre Royal panto as a child, it was a bit of a surprise to find that, unlike York, the costumes were hired in and the writer/director brought out the script from his bag of pantos!"

Mind you, that writer/director [Ben Crocker] was a devotee of Berwick Kaler's work. "Every year he would come up to York to see Berwick's panto to go back with new ideas!" says Luke.

Growing up in Selby, Luke had first watched a Kaler show when he was seven or eight. "Then I saw Cinderella and Aladdin and the next one was going to be Beauty And The Beast. There was always an advert in the Selby Times looking for cast members for the children's parts and this time my mum was like, 'Do you wanna go along?'," he recalls.

York Press:

Luke Adamson in a York Theatre Royal pantomime in childhood days

"So I turned up at the old rehearsal rooms at Walmgate, which was a mistake because it turned out the auditions were at the Friends' Meeting House, in Friargate, down the side street opposite the Grand Opera House. We had to hot-foot it across York; I managed to fill in the form in time and then I saw all these other kids there and changed my mind because there seemed to be so many of them. To me, because I was nine, it looked like there were 100 there and I thought, 'I'll never get chosen'.

"I had to have my hands lifted off the door frame because I was so nervous, but Sue Scott Davison, the choreographer, eased me into it and when I realised I could dance and was having lots of fun, I had this big grin on my face."

Then came the long wait in the days when the Theatre Royal informed the successful auditionees by post. "It seemed like an eternity," says Luke, but the waiting was worth it.

"Being in Beauty And The Beast was phenomenal! So much fun. I loved everything about it, being in the rehearsal room, watching Berwick, David, Martin and Suzy and how Damian worked. I was mesmerised. I got a nice little speaking role with Berwick when Berwick's house was being repossessed where I had to give him financial advice."

Can he still remember the lines? "I think I can!" says Luke, who went on to do more three more Theatre Royal pantomimes. "I got to play Bugsy, the Geordie Millennium Bug in Old Mother Milly, The Millennium Pantomime; I did a bit of dancing, a bit of singing and had a little part in a shop scene in Dick Whittington that was cut in the tech rehearsal to shorten the running time; and the last one was Jack And The Beanstalk in 2001-2002.

"I played a talking penguin, that famous Jack And The Beanstalk role! There was a lot to do with snow and ice that year, all coming down on skis for the walk-down.

"Now I'm back, though I don't know if I'll be doing my 'Penguin' again, but I'm really delighted to be back. I've always said I've wanted to do it, and every time I come back up to Yorkshire, the first thing people ask me is, 'Are you going to be in the panto this year?'. Well, now I am!"

Maybe Berwick Kaler knew this day would always come. "I owe it all to Berwick" says Luke. "On the last night of the first panto I did, he said, 'you can do anything in life, but I think you're going to be an actor'. That was the moment, and I've never looked back."

Jack & The Beanstalk runs at York Theatre Royal from December 14 to February 3. Box office: 01904 623568 or at