YORK Theatre Royal’s cast for Jack And The Beanstalk has met up for the first time in a lunchtime bean feast.

Welcome to a pantomime with a female Jack, short for Jacqueline; a talking cow called Dave; a Scottish baddie from CBeebies, who will not play Fleshcreep; a French-born comic; a returning dame and a pantomime comeback after 35 years for an EastEnders, Goodness Gracious Me and Strictly Come Dancing alumna.

Step forward Mia Overfield’s Jack Trott; Travelling Panto star Anna Soden’s Dave the Cow, James “Raven” McKenzie’s villainous Luke Backinanger (although that name may change by the first night), Matthew Curnier’s Billy, Robin Simpson’s Dame Trott and Nina Wadia’s Fairy Sugarsnap.

They will be joined by an ensemble of Luke Lucas, Chris Morgan Charlotte O’Sullivan, Khan Rasul, Lauren Richardson and dance captain Emily Taylor in the fourth Theatre Royal collaboration with the award-winning Evolution Productions after The Travelling Panto, Cinderella and All New Adventures Of Peter Pan.

Once more the production team will be Evolution director Paul Hendy as writer, Theatre Royal creative director Juliet Forster as director and Hayley Del Harrison as choreographer, while Evolution’s in-house team will provide the set and costume designs.


“Our plan from when [former chief executive] Tom Bird and I started putting one together was that instead of having a fixed team, like we had with Berwick Kaler, we would have a wider pool of actors, keeping some continuity – like having Anna Soden back – but not having the same cast every year.

“It’s not a given plan each year and it just happens that this cast fitted so well for this year, but we’d love to have the likes of Josh Benson, Jonny Weldon and Andy Day [from CBeebies] back again at some point, and Fayre Campbell and Paul Hawkyard both want to come back but for differing reasons they can’t be here this year.”

The fresh intake will be led by Nina Wadia. “She’s not just funny but naturally warm, and those qualities in a fairy are ideal. That’s why I’m very excited she’s joining us,” says Juliet.

York Press: The cast of Jack and the Beanstalk. Picture: Kirkpatrick PhotographyThe cast of Jack and the Beanstalk. Picture: Kirkpatrick Photography

After leaving Arden School of Theatre, Manchester, last year, Mia Overfield has appeared on a York stage already this year, in the ensemble for David Walliams’s The Demon Dentist at the Grand Opera House in June. “Evolution spotted her in that show, and she read really, really well for playing Jack Trott. She has that star quality and confidence,” says Juliet.

“You need to keep bringing new people into pantomime, and every year I’ve had someone who’s not done it before in the cast. I always talk about how pantomime differs from other forms of theatre, and when they experience that connection with the audience, it’s so joyous.”

Tickets for the December 8 to January 7 2024 run are on sale on 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.