BAFTA-winning writer pens panto for Tewkesbury’s The Roses theatre

king arthur
Oh yes it is! Panto is returning to The Roses theatre in Tewkesbury at the end of the month.
The much-anticipated new show, King Arthur: The Panto! has been created especially for The Roses by BAFTA-winning writer, Maurice Gran.
Maurice has co-written some of the UK’s most-loved TV sitcoms including Birds of a Feather, Goodnight Sweetheart and The New Statesman. Now he has turned his hand to creating a brand new show for The Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury.
King Arthur is Maurice’s first pantomime, co-written with actor, performer and playwright, Nick Wilkes, currently touring the country in a production of Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers. The curtain will rise on the first performance of King Arthur on Saturday, November 27 - a world premiere for the Roses Theatre!
Set in Medieval Tewkesbury, King Arthur tells the tale of a humble baker’s boy who is destined for greater things in life. Naturally, the path to glory is never straightforward and before he can fulfil his destiny, the hero must overcome his nemesis, Morgana Le Fey, and a big, scary dragon.
Maurice said: “There used to be only six pantomimes… now there are seven.
“The idea of doing Arthur actually came from Nick. We had various ideas. Because of the town’s connection to the Wars of the Roses we nearly wrote a panto version of Richard III. But we decided the story of Arthur would work really well for Tewkesbury, as it’s such an amazing place with incredible architecture and so much history, a great undiscovered cradle of English civilisation.”
The writer, who has lived in Gloucestershire since 1993, was asked to join the Theatre’s board a few years ago, and said he was more than happy to contribute in this way to the Roses’ success.
“I don’t want to sound like a bighead, but I don’t think a BAFTA winner has written a panto before. But if you’re trying to support an institution that you care about, then why not use your skill to do it?”
Ben Eagle returns to The Roses for the fourth time to play the dame and star baker, Ma Baker.
Ben said: “I’ve played the dame at the Roses for the past three years, and this is my fourth time ‘in the dress’. My first panto at the Roses was Robin Hood in 2016, where I played Friar Tuck, who frees Robin Hood from prison by dressing as a water woman… which is how it all began!
“Ma Baker is a very sexy lady, obviously. Extremely attractive and the most promising bachelorette in Gloucestershire this Christmas. She is Arthur's mother and runs the village bakery - she’s famous for her baps. She is on the lookout, though, for a new man. Take that as a warning for any men sitting in the front rows.
“The script is written by BAFTA-winning writer Maurice Gran and so I knew it would be good fun. It feels fresh, with some great set pieces and jokes which I know the Tewkesbury audiences will enjoy. It’s filled with silliness, high-stakes drama and a very funny scene with some ‘sword in the stone’ action.”
Jessica Brewster, Director of the Roses added: “We have a superb pantomime this year, characterised by Maurice’s trademark wit and humour, combined with wonderful sing-a-longs, a great cast and creative staging that includes lots of visual references to Tewkesbury.
“Additionally, we are super proud to have an all-female creative team for the first time ever, a brilliant cast with the same number of women as men on the stage, and of course a fabulous female villain!
“Our show offers a couple of hours of perfect escapism, ensured to get the whole family into the Christmas spirit.”
King Arthur runs between Saturday, November 27 and Friday, December 31. Tickets can be bought on The Roses website, by calling the box office on 01684 295074 or in person at the theatre on Sun Street, Tewkesbury, GL20 5NX.
King Arthur: The Panto! is kindly sponsored by Thomson & Bancks Solicitors.


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Roses Theatre

The Roses is a 370 seat theatre within a busy and popular arts centre in Tewkesbury. It has an eclectic programme of live events, take part activities, exhibitions and festivals. 

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