The home of family panto, Watford Palace Theatre, is preparing for its new production this festive season.

Sleeping Beauty will continue the local tradition of festive joy for young and old when it comes to the Palace from Friday, November 29, to Tuesday, December 31.

The most magical event of the year will be full of all the ingredients you’ve come to love about the Watford Palace Theatre pantomime: a lavish spectacle with live musicians on stage, stunning original sets and costumes, song, dance and slapstick, performed straight from the heart by a talented company of actors, a mix of new and familiar faces.

Join Good Fairy Fender and Dame Nanny Fanny on this unforgettable, time-travelling, magical adventure. It’s the eve of Princess Aurora’s 18th birthday party and her father, King Lenny the VIII of Watford, is worried sick about the Bad Fairy’s curse. Just one prick of her finger on a spinning wheel, and Aurora’s dream of escaping the palace to travel the world will remain just that - a dream. A guitar-playing Prince is the only hope to wake Aurora from her long sleep.

Artistic Director Brigid Larmour said: “I think what we all need in these challenging times is to come together as a community and have a laugh. Watford Palace has had pantomime at its heart since opening as a music hall in 1908 - a living tradition of popular entertainment. Panto brings together the simplest and oldest joys of live theatre, and a rich mix of music, which the tiniest audience members can sing along with, word for word.”

And there’s no better time to start getting excited for the upcoming show, as the full casting has just been announced.

Richard Emerson plays Dame Nanny Fanny. Richard’s West End credits include Chess and A Chorus of Disapproval alongside many years of pantomimes.

Reece Evans plays Vince Prince. Reece is a graduate from Guildford School of Acting and recently had his stage debut in Sweet (Box Clever Theatre).

Nikita Johal plays Princess Aurora. Nikita, a Watford local, has recent credits including Into The Woods and Bring It On: The Musical (PPA).

John Macneill plays King Lenny The Eighth. John has appeared as Jacka Hoblyn in three series of BBC drama Poldark.

Thomas Fabian Parrish plays Fairy Fender. Thomas recently travelled to the United States to work as part of the Million Dollar Quartet company as lead guitarist.

Arabella Rodrigo plays Pestilentia Blight. Arabella returns to Watford Palace Theatre having performed previously in Beauty and the Beast and Dick Whittington.

Leonie Spilsbury plays Sowesta. Leonie’s recent credits include Alice in Wonderland (Red Rose Chain) and the national tour of Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales.

Director James Williams said: “It’s great to be directing the panto again, especially as this was my local theatre growing up. This year is a beautiful telling of the Sleeping Beauty story with a few time-travelling surprises! Working on panto is always enormous fun and I can’t wait to share it with you.”

Watford Palace Theatre, 20 Clarendon Road, Watford, Friday, November 29, to Tuesday, December 31, various times. Details: 01923 225671