Evesham’s pantomime opens tonight but a very important guest will be missing.

The team at Phoenix Theatre Group are excited to begin the run of their 32nd pantomime, which this year is Dick Whittington, being performed at The Henrician.

However, co-founder and producer Keith Norledge won’t be in attendance but will instead be there in spirit and is looking forward to catching the show later this week.

He said: “After having to cancel last year’s show, the group are really looking forwards to our 2022 panto.

“Our cast of 40 have rehearsed under difficult Covid restrictions to bring the usual traditional family panto that Phoenix is known for, back onto the stage.

“It’s also the first time in 32 years I’ve not been there in some capacity on opening night.

"Good luck to the hardworking cast. Keep up the good work and I’ll see you all at Thursday night’s show.”

He added: “Being primarily a youth group, we firmly believe it was important to get our members back on stage as soon as possible.

“Some of our members have missed out on performing in a couple of shows over the last two years of lockdown measures, having now gone off to University or drama school.

“We felt our younger members needed to get back on stage at the earliest opportunity.”

Dick Whittington, which runs for six shows, is the first major production put on by the theatre group, with plans to perform Shrek the Musical later this year.

Mr Norledge said: “Having provided low cost drama to the youth of the Vale for over 32 years, we’re now looking to pick up where we left off before the pandemic hit.”

The show runs from tonight, Wednesday January 19, until Sunday January 22.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased online at www.Henrician.org.