Consett’s Christmas pantomime Beauty and the Beast may have finished its run, but for those involved in the production it could be said to have come to a happy ending.

The 2018 pantomime – staged at the Consett Empire – is the most successful panto to have ever been put on in the town, with the show attracting record audience numbers.

The production was seen by an incredible 13,000 people.

Beauty and the Beast was written and directed by north-east actress Leah Bell. Leah – who also starred in the panto as the loveable Mrs Penelope Potts – is already working on ideas for this year’s show, Snow White.

Tickets for Snow White at the Consett Empire are already on sale and theatregoers are urged to book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Leah Bell has now been producing Consett’s pantos for over a decade. Leah said, “Sometimes everything just clicks into place and this December in Consett was one of those times.”

“The audience reaction was great. There is always a warm and friendly atmosphere in the theatre during pantomime season, but this year it seemed extra special.”

“I can’t wait to get started on Snow White, which will have some magical surprises in it.”

Beauty and the Beast also starred Finbar Healy – the son of the late north-east entertainer Brendan Healy – as well as Harriet Povey and James de Lauch Hay.

Empire Panto success 1
Leah Bell in Beauty and the Beast

The arts programme manager at the Empire Theatre and Cinema, Nicola Dailly, said, “We are thrilled so many people experienced the magic of our festive panto.”

“Leah is such a talented pantomime producer and we are really looking forward to working with her again this year.”

Snow White will be staged at the Consett Empire from Saturday 30th November to Tuesday 31st December. Tickets cost £17, £15 for concessions. Family tickets are also available, at £56 for four people.

You can book your tickets now by going to or telephoning 03000 262 400.

(The featured image shows the cast of Beauty and the Beast at the Empire Theatre and Cinema in Consett.)

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David writes about local news, thought provoking stories, and yearns to capture the community spirit with a unique writing style.


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