Theatre Royal Winchester launches this year’s panto, Dick Whittington


Credit: Adrienne Photography

On Saturday Theatre Royal Winchester launched its traditional family pantomime, Dick Whittington, with the help of one of its stars, Dame Dolly Dumpling.

Dame Dolly performed a comic baking scene – interrupted by a pesky rat (puppet) – in The Brooks Shopping centre before walking up the High Street to pose for photos with shoppers out enjoying their day. They were given the chance to win four tickets to the panto by posting their selfies online.

Dame Dolly Dumpling is played by a familiar face around Winchester and at the theatre, actor Julian Eardley, who has played the theatre’s panto dame for ten years counting this year. Julian has a wealth of acting experience, performing in theatre productions around the world including with Vienna’s English Theatre and starring in a BBC Radio 4 sitcom with comic star, June Whitfield.

This year Julian will once more be joined by Ed Thorpe, who plays the panto’s lead, Dick Whittington. The pair first starred together in the theatre’s 2017 panto, Peter Pan – Ed’s first ever panto and that earned him a nomination in the Great British Pantomime Awards for Best Songsheet performance.

Dick Whittington tells the story of a man who seeks his fortune in a London tormented by Revolting Rodents led by the sinister King Rat – the role of which is played by Kris Milnes, or Bouffon in last year’s panto, Beauty and the Beast. Kris first performed as a young Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol before going on to star in Les Miserables, TV’s Casualty and My Family – and more.

They will be joined by Caitlin McNerney who plays the Cat, Libby Gores as Fairy Bow Bells, Joanna Brown as Alice Fitzwarren and Jon Bonner who has three roles – Alderman, Captain and Sultan.

As well as Julian, Ed and Kris making a return to the theatre this year, Dick Whittington is being brought to the stage by the same creative team behind last year’s hugely successful Beauty and the Beast – writer and director James Barry and composer Simon Slater – who this year were nominated for the Great British Pantomime Awards’ Musical Achievement Award for their original musical score for last year’s panto.

The professional actors will be joined by a supporting cast of local young performers.  The production has been sponsored by The Brooks Shopping Centre.

Dick Whittington will be at Theatre Royal Winchester from Saturday 30 November 2019 – Sunday 5 January 2020. Find out more, including performance dates and times, and book tickets, at or call the Box Office on 01962 840 440.