The all-new temporary theatre in Dartford – Orchard West – will be welcoming a talented cast for this years’ pantomime.

Today (Monday), the team behind the pantomime has released the casting for this years’ pantomime, Beauty, and the Beast.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that EastEnders favourite Shona McGarty will lead the line-up of Dartford’s annual panto playing the title role of Belle.

She will be joined by Britain's Got Talent semi-finalist John Archer as Belle’s Father, fellow EastEnders actor Harry Reid as Silly Billy, and Musical Theatre performers Emma Jay Thomas as the Enchantress and Tom Senior as Flash Harry.

The casting announcement follows the news that Dartford Borough Council (DBC) and Trafalgar Theatres are set to construct and open a state-of-the art temporary theatre venue in Dartford, following concerns over RAAC concrete in The Orchard Theatre’s roof which forced venue to close in September.

Orchard West is scheduled to open in late November as a fully-functional, temporary, enclosed performance space with 1,000 seats – complete with comfortable seating, heating and cooling systems, access provision and full backstage and front-of-house facilities including indoor toilets and bars.

Beauty and the Beast is staged by Crossroads Pantomimes, the world’s biggest pantomime producer, led by Michael Harrison and the team behind recent Orchard Theatre successes including last year’s production of Cinderella.

Michael Harrison, Chief Executive of panto producer Crossroads Pantomimes said: “We're delighted that Dartford Borough Council and Trafalgar Theatres have found such a creative solution to keep theatre alive in Dartford while work on the Orchard Theatre is undertaken.

“With pantomime being such an important part of the Orchard Theatre's year we are thrilled that our magical production of Beauty and The Beast will be one of the first major productions to be staged in Orchard West."

Dreaming of a happier life, Belle finds herself transported to a cursed castle and held captive by a terrifying beast.

To her surprise, the castle is full of magical characters placed under a spell by an evil enchantress.

Packed with all the traditional pantomime ingredients Dartford audiences know to expect, don’t miss the action-packed pantomime that promises to be full of laugh-out-loud comedy, beautiful costumes and plenty of boos and hisses.