Latest news / 19 September, 2018


Manchester Opera House has today announce that CBBC star Shannon Flynn will join the cast of this year’s production of Cinderella in the title role, along with comedian Ben Nickless as Buttons and Hayley-Ria Christian as The Fairy Godmother. The cast join the already-announced Coronation Street stars Connor McIntyre and Les Dennis who will play The Ugly Sisters alongside singing sensation Gareth Gates as Prince Charming

Shannon Flynn, who hails from Rochdale, is no stranger to family entertainment, known to children for her role in the CBBC show Dani’s Castle and as a presenter on children’s entertainment show Friday Download. Shannon is perhaps best known for playing Emily James in the BBC school-based drama, Waterloo Road.

Cinderella’s best friend Buttons will be played by Ben Nickless, who started his working life playing the comedy clubs of the North West. His career took off in 2006 when he performed his own style of comedy and impressions on the BBC Television series Let Me Entertain You alongside Brian Conley and Christine Bleakley, winning his episode. Ben has also proven to be one of the country’s most popular pantomime performers, playing to audiences up and down the country. Ben has played every pantomime comic role including Muddles, Smee, Wishee Washee, Idle Jack and this year, his favourite part, Buttons.

No pantomime would be complete without some Fairy Godmother magic, and Soul vocalist Hayley-Ria Christian will bring more than a little magic to the stage in this year’s production. Hayley is an accomplished musical theatre performer having performed in many shows such as Sister Act, as well as being a vocalist on major tours including Sheridan’s Smith’s UK theatre tour last year.

Sheena Wrigley, Theatre Director for the Palace Theatre and Opera House, has said ‘Adding to our previously announced cast, we are thrilled to announce Shannon, Ben and Hayley are joining the production. With each either hailing from or having built their careers in the city, we are sure that Cinderella will be packed with real Mancunian heart.’

Managing Director of pantomime producer Qdos Entertainment, Michael Harrison, said ‘We are delighted to be adding so much additional talent to our Manchester production of Cinderella. Alongside the sensational cast we’ve announced today, we are also working on stunning special effects for the show with our effects partners The Twins FX which we know will wow Manchester audiences.’

The clock is ticking – with tickets already on sale from just £12, book your visit to the Ball at