AUDREY Leybourne is appearing on a York stage for the first time at the age of 90, playing Potty T Potts in Beauty And The Beast at the Grand Opera House.

"I've not performed in York before but I once spent Christmas here, quite a long time ago it must have been, when I was in pantomime in Middlesbrough," she recalls. "I had Christmas with Gordon Honey, who worked at the Theatre Royal in Donald Bodley's repertory company and now lives in Charterhouse, writing funny poems – and he still has a very good voice."

In her long career, Cardiff-born Audrey has played the Leeds Grand Theatre and in Scarborough as a member of Les Dawson's tap-dancing troupe The Roly Polys. "I think it would have been at the Spa, with Ken Dodd on the same bill, which was lovely," she says.

Three Bears Productions' co-producer Chris Moreno has signed up Audrey for her pantomime role as Potty T Potts. "I've been happy to work with Chris many times before and he's become a wonderful friend and the best producer in the business," she says.

"Among all the work, I've only done two pantos with him, at the Lincoln Theatre Royal, the first one as the Fairy in Cinderella with Ted Rogers and Peter Byrne, and then I went back there the next year to be the Genie of the Ring with the lovely Emmerdale actor Frazer Hines as the Genie of the Lamp.

"For Beauty And The Beast, my agent rang me up and told me about the role in the spring, and I said I'd like to do it, but I was a little worried that Chris hadn't seen me since 2015, when I did Annie with Su Pollard as Miss Hannigan and I played Mrs Pugh, the cook. That was in New Zealand, and it was just wonderful over there.

"I don't think it's a secret that I'm 90, which is why, when I came up for the panto launch in July and Chris hadn't seen me for a while, I thought, 'I wonder if he thinks he's made a mistake', but he said he was delighted I'd be doing the show."

As Potty T Potts, Audrey leads off the song-and-dance routine for the tea-party scene played out to the ensemble rendition of Madness's chart-topping favourite, Our House. "Potty is definitely on the good side in this show and it's a wonderful, wonderful role to play with the dancers around me dressed as tea cups and Jammy Dodger biscuits – and I'm glad I'm playing Potty because that's what I am!"

"I realise I'm extraordinarily lucky because I'm in good health, I still love learning lines and playing good parts. I remember once when my dear sister Dorothy was wheeling me out of hospital and said, 'When are you going to retire?'. I just looked at her and said: 'Retire?!!!' No!

"Sometimes it's a bit hard [in this profession] but you must hold on to a dream. My dear dad was cautious about me going on stage, so I even did a course in shorthand and typing at Clark's College in Cardiff and got a job as a temping shorthand typist. I remember taking a shorthand note, writing it beautifully, but I couldn't read it back, so I couldn't stay there, though I did later get jobs as a typist when I was 'resting' between acting jobs as you have to keep paying the rent."

Thankfully for Audrey, tapping the typewriter keys has played second fiddle to tap-dancing in the Roly Polys and many more roles in a career now stretching into Audrey's nineties.

Beauty And The Beast runs at Grand Opera House, York, until January 7. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at