Awards announced for the best in British panto

Last Updated on 21 April 2022 by Showcall Editorial Team

Alexandra Burke, “Judge” Rob Rinder and Joe Tracini were among winners in the 2022 Pantomime Awards

Aladdin Lyric Hammersmith
Kate Donnachie and Irvine Iqbal in Aladdin at the Lyric Hammersmith. Photo: Helen Maybank

Mythical creatures, ugly sisters and outrageous dames took home trophies at this year’s Pantomime Awards for the best shows, creatives and performers.

Winners included singer and West End star Alexandra Burke, TV judge Rob Rinder, actor and mental health campaigner Joe Tracini, EastEnders and Our Girl actor Rolan Bell, and performers from West End comedy hit The Showstoppers.

The title of best panto was spread across venues of different sizes as well as online, with Evolution Productions’ Jack and the Beanstalk at Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre winning for spaces with more than 900 seats. Its director Paul Hendy won the award for best direction.

Aladdin at the Lyric Hammersmith in west London, produced in-house, was named best panto for venues with 500 to 900 seats, while its writer, Vikki Stone, picked up the award for best script. Kate Donnachie, who played Emperor, won the title of best supporting artist.

The best pantomime for venues with under 500 seats was named as Robin Hood at Liverpool’s Everyman Theatre, produced in-house. Its musical director and arranger Jamie Noar, who also played the role of Marlon, won the award for best musical direction.

With many pantomimes broadcast online as well as running on stage, the live steam of Jack and the Beanstalk at New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich was named best digital pantomime.

Alexandra Burke won the Carmen Silvera Award for “best mythical being” for her performance as The Spirit of the Ring in Crossroads’ Aladdin at Manchester’s Opera House.

The award for best pantomime dame went to Morgan Brind for his performance in Little Wolf Entertainment’s Sleeping Beauty at Derby Arena. Tam Ryan was named best comic for playing Buttons in Imagine Theatre’s Cinderella at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.

Duncan Burt and Nic Gibney were named the UK’s best ugly sisters in UK Productions’ Cinderella at Theatre Royal Bath. The award for best villain went to Rolan Bell as Abanazar in Cambridge Arts Theatre’s production of Aladdin.

The Barbara Windsor Award for best principal boy went to Dominic Sibanda as the Prince in Evolution Productions’ Sleeping Beauty at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre. The award for best principal girl was won by Naomi Alade as Marian in Oxford Playhouse’s Robin Hood.

Becca Lee-Isaacs, who played Fairy Bree-Anne in The Big Tiny’s Robin Hood at Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, won the award for best early career newcomer.

Rob Rinder – best known for his TV series Judge Rinder – picked up the award for best newcomer to pantomime after playing The Man in the Mirror in Crossroads’ Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Bristol Hippodrome.

Special Recognition award winners included Joe Tracini for his performance as Tommy the Cat in Dick Whittington and His Cat at Theatre Royal Norwich and his original pantomime song about feeling scared. He was praised “for changing perceptions and raising awareness of mental health”.

Justin Fletcher and Paul Morse received a Special Recognition award for “exceptional” execution of the “balloon ballet” and the championing of set-pieces in Beauty and the Beast at The Hexagon in Reading.

Justin Brett, Susan Harrison and Ali James from musical theatre improv troupe The Showstoppers also won a Special Recognition award for their “skilled execution of fully improvised ‘front cloth’ sequences including songs created from audience participation, promoting innovation in content”, in Cinderella at the Corn Exchange in Newbury, Berkshire.

The award for best ensemble went to Dick Whittington at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre: Tiago Dhondt Bamberger, Char Burnett, Robert Donnelly, Louis Emmanuel, Amiyah Goodall, Tanieth Kerr, Georgia-Mae Price, Millie Robins, Ernest Stroud and Jessamie Waldon-Day – all 2022 graduates of Guildford School of Acting’s BA in Musical Theatre.

The Outstanding Achievement Award was presented to Nigel Ellacott for his contributions since the start of his panto career in 1974. Known as an experienced, respected and knowledgeable authority on pantomime, he is a talented script writer, costume designer, costume maker, performer and historian.

The awards are organised by the UK Pantomime Association and were hosted this year by its president, legendary panto star and actor Christopher Biggins.

Last night’s event included performances by Gracie McGonigal, Myra DuBois and an ensemble from Butlin’s with a tribute to the swings and understudies who kept the 2021/2022 season going during the pandemic.

Full list of winners in the 2022 Pantomime Awards

Best Choreography
Jonny Bowles – Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Grand Opera House, Belfast (Crossroads Pantomimes)

Best Lighting sponsored by Production Light and Sound
Matt Cross – Beauty and the Beast, Kings Lynn Corn Exchange (Jordan Productions)

Best Sound Design
Alex Linney – Jack and the Beanstalk, Gaiety Theatre, Isle of Man (Shone Productions)

Best Set Design
Cleo Pettitt – Dick Whittington and his Cat, Watford Palace Theatre (in-house)

Best Costume Design
Celia Perkins – Aladdin, Oldham Coliseum Theatre (in-house)

Best Musical Direction
Jamie Noar – Robin Hood, Everyman Theatre, Liverpool (in-house)

Best Script#
Vikki Stone – Aladdin, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre (in-house)

Best Direction
Paul Hendy – Jack and the Beanstalk, Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (Evolution Productions)

Best Ugly Sisters
Duncan Burt and Nic Gibney – Cinderella, Theatre Royal Bath (UK Productions)

Best Dame sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment
Morgan Brind – Sleeping Beauty, Derby Arena (Little Wolf Entertainment)

Best Comic sponsored by Box Office Radio
Tam Ryan – Cinderella, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre (Imagine Theatre)

Best Villain sponsored by Breckman & Company
Rolan Bell – Aladdin, Cambridge Arts Theatre (in-house)

Carmen Silvera Award for Best Mythical Being
Alexandra Burke – Aladdin, Opera House, Manchester (Crossroads Pantomimes)

Best Ensemble sponsored by Stagecoach
Tiago Dhondt Bamberger, Char Burnett, Robert Donnelly, Louis Emmanuel, Amiyah Goodall, Tanieth Kerr, Georgia-Mae Price, Millie Robins, Ernest Stroud, Jessamie Waldon-Day – Dick Whittington, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford (in-house)

Best Principal Girl
Naomi Alade – Robin Hood, Oxford Playhouse (in-house)

Barbara Windsor Award for Best Principal Boy
Dominic Sibanda – Sleeping Beauty, Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield (Evolution Productions)

Best Supporting Artist
Kate Donnachie – Aladdin, Lyric Hammersmith, London (in-house)

Best Early Career Newcomer sponsored by Staffordshire University
Becca Lee-Isaacs – Robin Hood, Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield (The Big Tiny)

Best Newcomer to Pantomime sponsored by Staffordshire University
Rob Rinder – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bristol Hippodrome (Crossroads)

Best Pantomime (Digital) sponsored by Dr Andy Video Design
Jack and the Beanstalk, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

Best Pantomime (Under 500 seats) sponsored by Butlin’s
Robin Hood, Everyman Theatre, Liverpool (in-house)

Best Pantomime (500-900 seats) sponsored by Butlin’s
Aladdin, Lyric Hammersmith, London (in-house)

Best Pantomime (Over 900 seats) sponsored by Butlin’s
Jack and the Beanstalk, Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (Evolution Productions)

Outstanding Achievement
Nigel Ellacott

Special Recognition
Joe Tracini – for changing perceptions and raising awareness of mental health through his pantomime performance and original pantomime song.
Justin Fletcher and Paul Morse – for exceptional execution of the “balloon ballet” and the championing of set-pieces.
Justin Brett, Susan Harrison and Ali James (The Showstoppers) – for skilled execution of fully improvised “front cloth” sequences including songs created from audience participation, promoting innovation in content.

About Mark Ludmon 317 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre, hospitality and drinks after starting in regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He is a former panellist for the Olivier Awards. He tweets at @MarkLudmon.