Latest news / 30 January, 2020
IN DICK TURPIN RIDES AGAIN AT GRAND OPERA HOUSE FOR CHRISTMAS 2021Grand Opera House are delighted to announce York legend Berwick Kaler will be bulk-buying Wagon Wheels, dusting off his frocks and making his much-anticipated, triumphant return to pantomime to star in Dick Turpin Rides Again! The star of pantomime in York for 40 years, Berwick’s critically acclaimed performance as dame has solidified his reputation as a true York institution having delighted generations of festive theatregoers every year, winning rave reviews from critics and audiences taking him to their hearts. Dick Turpin Rides Again marks his first pantomime at the Grand Opera House. Having made his York pantomime debut as Ugly Sister in Cinderella in 1977, Berwick has performed, written and directed panto in the city ever since, calling out his iconic catchphrase ‘me babbies, me bairns’ and met with adoration from local audiences at every performance. A star of the stage since he left his native Sunderland as a teenager, Berwick has been a mainstay in theatre ever since, appearing in London’s West End and regionally, making television appearances in iconic comedies such as The New Statesman and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and even featuring in the Hollywood blockbuster A Knight’s Tale. In 2012 he was featured in Michael Grade’s acclaimed documentary A History of the Pantomime Dame, which was aired on BBC Four. Dick Turpin Rides Again also reunites Berwick with his band of pantomime regulars, including comedy side-kick Martin Barrass, the villainous David Leonard, Yorkshire’s longest-serving Principal Girl Suzy Cooper and favourite funny man AJ Powell. Berwick will also write and direct the production. The Grand Opera House pantomime will be produced by Scarborough and London based Qdos Entertainment for the very first time, the world’s biggest pantomime producer, and the Olivier Award winning team behind pantomimes across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and at the world famous London Palladium each Christmas. Dick Turpin Rides Again will feature Qdos Entertainment’s hallmark of high-quality production values and special effects, whilst staying faithful to Berwick’s renowned approach to the genre and to local York audiences. Qdos Entertainment Managing Director Michael Harrison said:
I have long admired Berwick’s pantomimes - in fact his own brand of pantomime madness was the inspiration behind the shows I have created at both Newcastle Theatre Royal and The London Palladium. Little did I realise when I was watching Berwick’s shows that one day I’d be able to work with him and his team on a York pantomime. This deal has come together very quickly between Berwick, Martin, David, Suzy, AJ, ourselves and the Grand Opera House because first and foremost we all love pantomime - and what a panto this one is going to be. I couldn’t be happier to be able to announce that Dick Turpin will indeed ride again as will Berwick and his legendary team.Qdos Entertainment Chairman, Scarborough based Nick Thomas MBE, added:
I am thrilled to welcome Berwick, a true Yorkshire theatre legend, to the Qdos Family. Qdos Entertainment has had a long association with Yorkshire, it is my home county, and with our production and wardrobe teams based in Scarborough and Beverley, forming this new relationship with Berwick and the Grand Opera House is especially exciting.Speaking on his casting Berwick Kaler said:
Qdos Entertainment have come to the rescue of the most lauded pantomime in the country having found us a new home at the Grand Opera House in our beloved City of York. To make this a success we need you - the most articulate and loyal audience in the entire country. We can go forth with a management that believes we have enhanced the reputation of a local pantomime that has caught the imagination of young and old, from all walks of life.Grand Opera House York’s Theatre Director, Rachel Crocombe-Lane, adds:
Qdos brings both world-class expertise and also a Yorkshire heart, being based in Scarborough; the perfect combination together with this talented cast. As a venue team, Pantomime is our favourite time of year because of the friendship with the company and also the joy and devotion of our audience. We are proud of these new partnerships, excited for the future of our Pantomime and will be ready altogether to really blow your Christmas socks off!