Further star casting announced for Cinderella at the Orchard Theatre – the Fairy Godmother of all pantomimes

The Orchard Theatre has announced that much-loved actress Michelle Collins will star as the Wicked Stepmother in this year’s spectacular family pantomime, Cinderella, alongside the previously announced Louie Spence from Saturday 9 December.

Michelle made her television debut alongside Gary Oldman in Morgan’s Boy before going on to appear in numerous primetime programmes including Real Women, Sunburn, The Sleeper, Two Thousand Acres of Skye, the Emmy and BAFTA award-winning The Illustrated Mum and Doctor Who. Michelle also appeared in the feature films Personal Services opposite Julie Walters, Empire State and Stephen Poliakoff’s Hidden City.

Having been spotted on television by BBC producers, Michelle was asked to audition for the popular soap EastEnders and won the role of Cindy Beale, originally intended to appear in just eleven episodes. Michelle’s portrayal quickly proved popular with soap executives and viewers alike and played the role of the villainous, serial-adulterer for over ten years, an integral character to numerous high-profile story lines cementing her reputation as one of the UK’s best-loved actresses.

In addition to an early music career touring with Level 42, Marc Almond and Kid Creole, Michelle has also stared on stage in the musicals Daddy Cool and Never Forget, and appeared at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton as the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet and in The Demolition Man.

Since leaving EastEnders Michelle swapped the Queen Vic for a different pub, to take up her role as Stella Rice, landlady of Coronation Street’s infamous Rovers Return. Michelle played the role for over two years before appearing in Casualty in a guest-starring role, Death in Paradise and Midsomer Murders.  Most recently Michelle starred in the BAFTA award winning CBBC show The Dumping Ground.

Playing the Wicked Stepmother, the matriarch intent on ill-treating the beautiful Cinderella, Michelle will also be joined by Jayne Wisener in the title role and Phil Butler as Buttons.

Jayne Wisener made her professional screen debut as Johanna opposite Johnny Depp in the Tim Burton directed musical adaptation of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street aged just 19, which was seen by millions of cinemagoers.

Following her graduation from the Scottish Royal Academy of Music and Drama Jayne went on to make her professional stage debut in the highly-acclaimed production of Parade at the Donmar Warehouse in London’s West End, starred as Lauren in Channel 4’s comedy The Inbetweeners, appeared in The Secret Garden at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and in numerous pantomimes, including the role of Cinderella in last year’s production staged by Qdos Entertainment at the Grand Opera House in Belfast.

Joining Jayne in the role of Cinderella’s best-friend Buttons will be stand-up comedian, presenter, ventriloquist, writer, actor and the all-round hilarious, Phil Butler. A mainstay of comedy clubs, cruise chips and cabaret circuits for a number of years, Phil delights audiences everywhere he performs with his quick wit, hilarious impressions and one-liners, solidifying his reputation as one of the UK’s best-loved comedians.

Phil has appeared across the globe, from Australia, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asia, and regularly headlines at the Comedy Store and Komedia venues. Phil was also one of the first comedians to entertain British Forces on the front line in Afghanistan, an honour which saw him receive the Operational Service Medal.

Michelle, Jayne and Phil will join the previously announced Pineapple Dance Studios star Louie Spence as Prince Charming’s high-kicking manservant Dandini. Catapulted to fame via the Sky One series filmed at his Covent Garden dance studio, Louie went on to become one of the nation’s best-loved reality stars with subsequent appearances on Dancing on Ice, Louie Spence’s Showbusiness, The Jump and Celebrity Big Brother. No stranger to performing on stage, Louie appeared in the West End musicals Cats, Miss Saigon and Closer to Heaven and, as a commercial dancer, toured the world with the Spice Girls, Take That and Björk. Cinderella marks Louie’s fourth pantomime with Qdos Entertainment.

Cinderella’s Executive Producer Jonathan Kiley said: “I’m thrilled that Michelle, Jayne and Phil are joining Louie in this year’s spectacular Orchard Theatre pantomime. Michelle is so well-loved as a baddie we’re delighted she’ll be giving Orchard audiences something to boo and hiss at, and joined by the beautiful Jayne and hilarious Phil this year’s production will be packed full of laughter for everyone to enjoy.”

With over 30,000 tickets sold last year, audiences shouldn’t wait any longer to book their tickets to the Royal Ball this festive season. Cinderella runs from Saturday 9 December until Sunday 31 December 2017. Book now!