Britain’s oldest and longest-serving pantomime dame is set to return to the York stage.
Berwick Kaler will appear in Dick Turpin Rides Again at the Grand Opera House. In 2018 Kaler left York Theatre Royal after four decades as the standing dame. Kaler first donned a wig and dress in 1977 for Cinderella as Philomena the ugly step sister when he was only 31. Now aged 74, he makes his return on the very stage he began on.
Over the years, York panto sold out tens of thousands of seats. A firm tradition for many families during the holiday time. Many families from across Britain grew up going to see Kaler on stage and now bring their own children and continue the joy. The news of his return has pleased his fans. Sarah Lodge, 52, had this to say: “Excited to hear that Berwick Kaler is going to be returning to panto. I have very happy memories of seeing him as a child. Always made Christmas feel very special and family friendly for all ages.”
Dick Turpin has been written by Kaler as a part of his “original story” series. Kaler started writing his own pantomimes a few years after his stage debut, after positive responses to his on-stage ad-libbing. Dick Turpin is about the legendary highway man, who rides his horse from London to York in order to escape the law and evil plans of Count Vermin De Vile. In typical pantomime fashion this is joined with comedy and surprising plot twists.
Paul Doughty, a councilor for Strensall, Earswick and Stockton-on-the-Forest tweeted: “Another hopeful sign of returning to normality! Fitting I think Berwick Kaler back for the pantomime at this lovely old theatre. There’ll be shouts of “me babies, me bairns” from the rafters!”
With hopes high with anticipation and Kaler being “rejuvenated mentally” this is certain to bring fans flooding to York’s pantomime once again. The show will be running from the 11th of December through to the 9th of January. Tickets for the event are now available with York Grand Opera House anticipating a full house.