When the brilliant ball of fun Tim Stedman returns to Harrogate Theatre' s stage on November 24 to take his place in Cinderella, it will not only be the first live show at the theatre for nearly two years during Covid, but the 21st time the brilliantly hilarious actor has appeared in the town's magical panto for all the family.
Harrogate Theatre broke the news on Twitter with a real note of excitement, tweeting:
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"Guess who’s back, back again! Tim Stedman is back to play Buttons in our magical family pantomime Cinderella - Oh yes he is!
"This will be Tim’s 21st pantomime with Harrogate Theatre and we are absolutely delighted to welcome him back!"
But it will be a poignant return for Harrogate Theatre's panto after the tragic death if its director Phil Lowe recently and Cinderella will serve as a tribute to one of the theatre's most important and much-loved figures of recent decades.
In light of the shock passing of Phil, who had already co-written this year's festive production with his usual co-writer David Bown, the theatre's chief executive, directing duties for Cinderella will be handled by seasoned director, writer and actor Joyce Branagh.
The former Harrogate Theatre board member, and sister of Kenneth Branagh, Joyce will be lending her all-round expertise to this essential part of the Harrogate calendar despite ongoing work on the theatre building itself as part of £1 million roof repairs.
As for Tim Stedman, such is the efferverscent comic actor's reputation the news he will be appearing in the prime role of Buttons in this year's panto will be welcomed by children and parents with absolute delight.
In normal times tens of thousands travel from all across North Yorkshire to enjoy the panto partly to see Tim - a versatile actor who has appeared in Emmerdale, The Bill and, once, The Basil Brush Show (boom boom!) - on Harrogate Theatre stage where he first played his very very silly role in 2000.
The special rapport with the Harrogate public is part of the reason that Tim, who trained originally at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, keeps coming back to the town from his home down south.
Cinderella opens at Harrogate Theatre on November 24 and runs through to January 16, 2022.
Tickets are on sale now and going fast from www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk