JACK and the Beanstalk is set to return to the stage this Christmas with a star-studded cast and a furry friend entertaining York this Christmas.

Opening on December 8, York Theatre Royal's production of Jack and the Beanstalk features Nina Wadia of Eastenders, James Mackenzie of CBBC, and 'York Favourite' Robin Simpson.

Perhaps the most unique member of the cast is a border collie named Zeus. The six year-old dog from York is a three times Young Kennel Club Crufts winner, and has won a role in the new pantomime.

A theatre spokesperson said: “Zeus’s amazing audition gave us all paws for thought.

"He’s a natural stage performer whose dogged determination to win the role was a real tail-wagging moment.”

York Press: Zeus, starring in Jack and the Beanstalk

Pantomime director Juliet Forster will be training him in his acting debut. Those closest to Zeus say he’s very agile and loves to play but has an ‘off switch’ and likes to wind down too.

A spokesperson for the theatre said: "Zeus loves cream cheese, squeezy cheese and sometimes has carrots for breakfast. He eats at the table and even has his own chair."

Zeus won't be the only animal on stage, with 'Dave' the cow coming to life in a first for Jack and the Beanstalk.

York Press: Mia Overfield (left), Anna Soden (centre), Matthew Curnier (right)

Writer Paul Hendy, said: “In 19 years of writing and producing pantomimes we’ve never had a human cow before.

"We wanted to do something different and director Juliet Forster was very open to that.

"It makes more opportunities in the show for the cow. It’s a much bigger part than usual. Dave is very much one of the gang."

Anna Soden, who is playing the role of Dave on her own rather than the usual two people, said: "You’d almost think Dave is human."


The pantomime runs from December 8 to January 7,  written by Paul Hendy and directed by Juliet Forster. It's the same team who All New Adventures of Peter Pan to York Theatre Royal, last year. 

Included in the production is a selection of "accessible" performances, catering to people with dementia, and a performance with sign language for those with hearing difficulties.

Family tickets are available for all performances., £75 for bookings with 3 tickets, including at least 1 adult and 1 child.

It is £100 for bookings with 4 tickets, including at least 1 adult and 1 child.

To book tickets for an access performance, you are asked to email: boxoffice@yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

All other tickets can be accessed online here.