Suffolk New College puts a new spin on pantomime classic

Students at Suffolk New College rehearse their Christmas pantomime.

Students at Suffolk New College rehearse their Christmas pantomime.

Panto season has arrived at Suffolk New College where students are performing their own take on the children’s classic Aladdin.

Around 45 students are involved in the production, which is running from today until Wednesday, ahead of the start of The Ipswich Regent’s all star version of the magical pantomime this weekend.

The show is open to the public, with festive treats, including mulled wine, served in the atrium before the curtain rises.

Terri Beacham, programme leader for performing and production arts, promised a fun and festive evening.

She said: “The energy and enthusiasm of the students really comes through in a true panto style that will entertain and enthral in equal measure.”

The college puts on a performance every Christmas but this year is the first time it has been produced by one of its very own tutors – Matthew Townshend.

Taking inspiration from the original story, Mr Townshend has added an additional prologue and epilogue to the script to get more of the students up on stage.

Most Read

The cast is made up of mostly first year performing arts students but the show opens with a video featuring a dance routine staged by second year pupils.

All of the set design, lighting and stage management has been taken on by the college’s production students.

Students have been working on the show since the beginning on November, which culminated in a final dress rehearsal on Friday to a lively audience.

Speaking after the rehearsal, Mrs Beacham said: “They’ve done really well.

“There’s been every emotion you could think of but we’ve ended the week on a high having done a dress rehearsal with an audience – panto relies on audience interaction.”

With a seating capacity of 60-65 people, Mrs Beacham said she was hoping for a packed out crowd every night.

The college is also for the first time hosting a special matinée for local schools to enjoy and to give them an opportunity to take a tour of the facilities.

Performances start at 7.30pm and tickets, priced at £5 for adults and £3 for concessions, are available by calling 01473 382750 or emailing