Panto returns to Broadway in 2023 as theatre announces five-year partnership with Joy Productions
The classic tale is set to get a modern re-working by critically acclaimed ‘Queen of Panto’, Susie McKenna who will write and direct the show, which opens in December.
The announcement comes as the theatre enters a partnership with newly formed production company, Joy Productions – which is led by seasoned local producer Julie Clare and co-producer Chuchu Nwagu – to programme its annual pantomime for the next five years.
Accessibility and inclusivity are at the heart of the production and also central to Lewisham’s London Borough of Culture legacy. To ensure as many residents as possible can share in the joy of panto this year, over 8,500 tickets across the run will be priced at £10. There will also be education and outreach initiatives including partnerships with local colleges and West End theatres - further details will be released shortly.
Jack and the Beanstalk opens at Broadway on Friday 15 December and runs until Sunday 31 December, with previews from 13 December. Book via the Broadway’s website and stay tuned for cast announcements in the coming months.
Cllr James J. Walsh – Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure – said:
“The magic of pantomime creates unforgettable memories, that’s why I’m delighted it’s back at the Broadway this Christmas for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’re excited to partner with Joy Productions and renowned director Susie McKenna, a highly respected and seasoned panto producer on this project. Audiences will surely be thrilled by her incredible creativity and fresh take on the classic Jack and the Beanstalk.
"Following the recent announcement of our partnership with multi-award winning, double Olivier-nominated theatre company Nouveau Riche - Broadway's latest partnership with another high-end theatre company signals a further step-change in its artistic direction. Firmly positioning it as one of South London’s most exciting venues.
"Pantomime has long been at the heart of our theatre's programming and is much-loved by residents of all ages. I hope everyone will join us, if they can, and book tickets for what will likely be a fantastic, laugh out loud and heart-warming, production."
Susie McKenna said today:
“Pantomime has been a huge part of my career for 40 years, not least my 22 years at the helm of the critically acclaimed Hackney Empire panto. After a break of three years from the genre, I am over the moon and excited to be embarking on a new Pantomime adventure at the beautiful Broadway theatre, working with Joy Productions. My mum lived in South East London for over 20 years so I can’t wait to create a show for the area that truly reflects the dynamic energy and diversity of this community - something every generation can feel true pride in and ownership of.”
Julie Clare commented:
“It means so much to me that we are bringing the joy of panto to Lewisham this Christmas and that we’re doing it with truly diverse onstage, creative and backstage teams including as many local residents as possible. As someone who has lived in Catford for 22 years, Broadway is my local theatre, and I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with them to make something by Lewisham, for Lewisham.”
Chuchu Nwagu added:
“My first experience of theatre was my local panto in north London, and it’s what gave me the bug to work in the industry in the first place. It’s this experience we want to extend to others – to give them their first experience of theatre; and also to build a much needed inroad into the industry for Global Majority and working class talent to build a sustainable future.”
Joy Productions and Broadway present:
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK
Written and directed by Susie McKenna
Wednesday 13 December – Sunday 31 December
Press performance: Friday 15 December at 1.30pm and 7pm
Get ready for London’s newest and most GIANTGANTIC pantomime.
Jack, his Mum and their cow Caroline live in the Kingdom of Lewishfarm and life is tough; the people are poorer, and the rich are getting richer.
Everyone is at the mercy of Giant Blunderbore and his evil cockroach henchman Boris (who, by the way, secretly wants to destroy humanity).
Will Jack fulfil his destiny? Will Caroline the Cow become a Tik Tok star? Will Jack’s Mum find love in the audience?
This is truly a pantomime for South London, with a kickin’ band, a funky Giant, magic beans, slapstick routines, laughs and silliness galore with plenty of boos, cheers and soulful songs you know and love to keep you singing all the way all the way through!
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK LISTINGS
Broadway Theatre, Rushey Green, Catford, London, SE6 4RU
Tickets from £10
13 December – 31 December
Press performance: 15 December at 1.30pm and 7pm
Wednesday 13 December 10:30am and 2.30pm
Thursday 14 December 12.30pm and 5.30pm
Friday 15 December 1.30pm and 7.00pm
Saturday 16 December 1.00pm and 5.00pm
Sunday 17 December 1.00pm and 5.00pm
Tuesday 19 December 10.30am and 2.30pm
Wednesday 20 December 1.30pm and 6.00pm
Thursday 21 December 1.00pm and 5.00pm
Friday 22 December 1.30pm and 7.00pm
Saturday 23 December 1.00pm and 5.00pm
Sunday 24 December 12.00pm and 4.00pm
Tuesday 26 December 1.00pm and 5.00pm
Wednesday 27 December 1.00pm and 5.00pm
Thursday 28 December 1.00pm and 5.00pm
Friday 29 December 1.30pm and 7.00pm
Saturday 30 December 1.00pm and 5.00pm
Sunday 31 December 1.00pm
Susie McKenna has been working as an actor, writer, and director for over 35 years nationally, in the West End and in television and film. She has also produced documentaries including Battle Axes for Channel 4 and Journey into Evil for ABC in the USA. Susie is currently Associate Artist at Kiln theatre London and working as a freelance actress director and writer. McKenna has always worked in Pantomime from her first theatre job in the ensemble to playing Principal Boy at Nottingham playhouse for eight years to writing and directing Hackney Empire’s first ‘in house’ pantomime, Dick Whittington, in 1998. Susie went on to write and direct (and often appear in) the Hackney pantomime to great critical acclaim, up to and including the 21st anniversary production of Dick Whittington in 2020. It was set in 1948 with Dick arriving on the SS Empire Windrush winning her Best Director at the Great British Pantomime Awards. Having had a long association with Hackney Empire as associate director, she spearheaded the theatre’s reopening after a brief closure in 2010 and became Creative Director until December 2017. She was responsible for programming including commissioning the hit musical drama Rudy’s Rare Records by Danny Robbins starring Lenny Henry and curating the London cultural Olympiad comedy festival at the theatre in 2012. Susie also managed the delivery of the creative learning and community programme including directing Hackney Empire’s Artist Development Programme main house show each year since 2000 which produced two graduate theatre companies – Hackney Harlem Theatre Company and TWIST theatre. Her other main house productions at Hackney Empire include: Blues in the Night, Beau Jest, Sit and Shiver starring Steven Berkoff, Kat and Tameka Show, La Variété , Sing Out , Alter Ego , A Midsummer Night’s Madness (NYC and Edinburgh), a musical adaptation of Macbeth and Once on this Island - a co-production with Birmingham Rep and Nottingham Playhouse. In 2012 she was the festival director for Ha Ha Ha Hackney – a 7 show celebration of 60 years of British comedy for the London 2012 Festival.