Why Harrogate panto is best in Britain

Awards glory - Harrogate Theatre panto star Harriett Hare, pictured centre, with the cast of hit family show Jack and the Beanstalk.
Awards glory - Harrogate Theatre panto star Harriett Hare, pictured centre, with the cast of hit family show Jack and the Beanstalk.

Harrogate panto’s soaring nationwide reputation has been reflected in national awards after it changed the role of a girl playing a boy into a girl playing a girl.

This year’s popular family-friendly panto Jack and the Beanstalk attracted huge audiences with glowing reviews for the whole cast, including Harriett Hare, who played the title role of Jack.

Co-writers David Bown and Phil Lowe’s decision to recast the role in an untraditional fashion as a girl has certainly paid off.

For the talented actress has now been nominated as Best Principal Girl award in The Great British Pantomime Awards.

The successful actress said she was delighted by the nomination and had loved playing the role of Jack in a new way.

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She said: “It was great to be able to play Jack Trott as a feisty female - hopefully it’s a sign of more powerful female leads driving the narrative of panto!”

“I am delighted to have been nominated but it really is a reflection of the production as a whole.

“I think it is a testament to the production team, cast and creatives at Harrogate Theatre.

“It was such a wonderfully fun and spirited show to be a part of.

“They were one of the most lovely bunch of people I have ever worked with.”

With record-breaking audiences in the many thousands, this year’s panto was rated as one of the best ever at Harrogate Theatre, its unique mix of modern tunes, good manners and humour wowing audiences once again.

Phil Lowe, who also directed Jack and the Beanstalk, said the nomination reflected the hard work of the whole production team.

He said: “We are absolutely delighted that Harriett has been nominated at this year’s Great British Panto Awards.

“With the hundreds of shows that the judges see up and down the country it is great to get national recognition for the hard work from not only Harriett but the entire team here at the theatre.”