Latest news / 30 May, 2019
Belfast’s Grand Opera House has announced that star of stage and screen, Ben Richards, will play the role of the Beast in the spellbinding and enchanting pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, from Saturday 30 November 2019 – Sunday 12 January 2020.
After rising to fame on the ITV drama Footballers’ Wives, Ben Richards was cast in high-profile television roles in Holby City, The Bill, Doctors and Hollyoaks, and appeared in the feature films Bring Me the Head of Mavis Davis opposite Jane Horrocks and the late Rik Mayal, and Julie and the Cadillacs.
No stranger to the stage, Ben has appeared frequently in London’s West End and theatres across the UK with leading roles in Grease, Saturday Night Fever, The Full Monty, Little Shop of Horrors, Guys and Dolls, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Oliver!, 9 to 5 and Rock of Ages. Most recently Ben starred in The Bodyguard opposite Beverley Knight at the Dominion Theatre, London, which broke box office records.
With a record 40,000 tickets already sold, the cast of Beauty and the Beast will be led by the Queen of Panto May McFettridge, who this year celebrates her 30th Christmas season at the Grand Opera House. Comedy magician and Britain’s Got Talent favourite Mandy Muden will star alongside May and Ben.
Ian Wilson, Chief Executive of the Grand Opera House, said: “Panto season at the Theatre is always a special time, but this year’s spellbinding production of Beauty and the Beast is especially significant as it will be the final show before the Grand Opera House closes for restoration ahead of its 125th anniversary in December 2020. The show will be packed with all of the ingredients that makes the Grand Opera House panto so spectacular: an abundance of comedy, stunning sets, fabulous costumes…and a few surprises along the way”