Ann Widdecombe To Appear As Empress Of China In ‘Aladdin’ At Marina Theatre

The Marina Theatre Lowestoft has announced that The Right Honourable Ann Widdecombe will star as the regal and authoritative Empress of China in this year’s spectacular family pantomime, Aladdin, which runs from Wednesday 13 December 2017 to Monday 1 January 2018.

Outspoken and controversial, Ann is one of the most high-profile politicians of recent times. MP for Maidstone between 1987 and 1997 and for Maidstone and the Weald between 1997 and 2010 she is more recently known for her explosive appearance on the BBC Saturday night favourite, Strictly Come Dancing. At the age of 63, she became the oldest contestant ever on the smash hit dance contest. Despite never being a favourite with the judges, Ann continually defied the odds with her dance partner Anton Du Beke, surviving 10 weeks into the competition. Her comedy-inflected routines showed a self-deprecating sense of humour and won her legions of fans.

Strictly has been just one of many forays on television. In 2002, she took part in Celebrity Fit Club, becoming a judge in later series. In 2005, she fronted her own series, Ann Widdecombe to the Rescue, and has since made documentaries on a wide range of subjects, including prostitution, ‘hoodies’, benefits culture, the Bible and more. In 2017 she lived on a farm in Sugar Free Farm (ITV) and experienced life as a Victorian in 24 Hours in the Past (BBC Two).

As a presenter, Ann has twice sat in the chairman’s seat on Have I Got News for You and asked very tricky questions on Cleverdicks (Sky Atlantic).

In addition to her media commitments, Ann is a prolific author and columnist. She has a weekly column in The Daily Express and has written five novels, a detective story and her memoirs, Strictly Ann.

Ann will be accompanied on stage by popstar Mark Read, known to millions as a member of hit boyband A1 and for their trio of Number One singles Take on MeCaught in the Middle and Same Old Brand New You. With two decades in showbiz among his many credits Mark is set to play the title character Aladdin in this spectacular family adventure.

Lee Henderson, Chief Executive at the Marina Theatre, said: “We’re really excited that Ann Widdecombe has agreed to join the cast of ALADDIN, to play the impressive Empress of China for us in this year’s family pantomime. We very much look forward to welcoming her to Lowestoft for what is shaping up to be our most outstanding Christmas season ever.”

Pantomime Producer Paul Holman said: “I am thrilled to have secured Ann and Mark in what is already shaping up to be the biggest Christmas production Lowestoft has ever seen. With Ann’s charisma and remarkable sense of humour combined with Mark’s exceptional vocals and showmanship, not to mention the warmth and fun of returning comic Terry Gleed this year’s pantomime production really does have something for everyone.”

Tickets are on sale now via or at the box office on 01502 533 200.

About Author /

Matthew has been writing for the past 5 years about music, sports and movies and has now finally got his chance to write about theatre. Having previously worked for the likes of Kerrang and Uncut, as well as previously having a radio show for 6 Towns, he has interviewed hundreds of bands throughout his career.

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