The Orchard West Theatre in Dartford has now officially opened, and the cast of Christmas pantomime Beauty and the Beast are excited to be breaking in the stage.

The theatre has opened as a temporary measure after Dartford’s Orchard Theatre was forced to close following at RAAC survey.

The cast has revealed their favourite thing about performing in Dartford’s pantomime this year.

Tom Senior said: “For me, it’ll be nice to be in a pantomime so close to home.”

Fellow performer Harry Reid said: “I’m looking forward to making the kids laugh.”

Emma Jay Thomas added that she cannot wait to perform in 12 shows each week.

Emma has performed in the West End and in UK tours and was asked what the highlight of her career so far is.

She said: “I've just loved my career. I've enjoyed all of it.

“Whether it's in town or on a show touring different cities around the UK.

“But I think I’ve most enjoyed being in Mamma Mia, which obviously is now a very renowned show.

“I was in the original company and we had no idea it was going to go on to be as big as it is.

“It just blew up overnight, that was amazing.”

Tom Reid recently starred as Gasto in the national tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, however, in the pantomime he will play a different tole – Flash Harry.

He said: “I suppose the main difference is that you get to interact with the audience far more, like the show will just change every single day, which will be great.

“But Beauty and Beast is a classic story, and to play the villain is fun.

“Yes, I'm looking forward to interacting with the audience.”

Another famous face in the pantomime is John Archer, who appeared on Britain’s Got Talent in 2019 and made it to the semi-finals.

When asked how appearing on the hit reality show helped platform his career, he said: “Well, I had a great career before I did it to be honest.

“But I think appearing in BGT has helped me get into panto as well as some corporates and gigs.

“But I didn't really do it for my career. I just did it to scare myself, really, because I always thought ‘I'll never go on there because they'll buzz you and I’m getting on a bit.’

“But then I thought ‘No, face your fears. Do things that scare you’ and I did.

“That's why I'm doing this panto.”

Beauty and the Beast opened at the Orchard West Theatre on Friday, December 8 and will run until December 31.