BRADFORD’S iconic Alhambra Theatre is set to stage its first pantomime after the pandemic, with a star-studded cast featuring legend Billy Pearce and TV favourite Dr Ranj Singh.

Sleeping Beauty will open to the public on December 11 and will run until January 16 next year.

Billy Pearce has featured in 22 pantomimes and is ready to take to the stage after missing out last year.

Billy, who plays King Billy, father of Princess Aurora, said: “I can’t believe I’m back here. It was the longest I’ve been out of work my whole life and I’ve missed the feeling of being terrified.

“Those nerves that you feel before stepping on stage, it’s all just so exciting.”

The cast feel this year will be extra special after all that families have been through over the last 18 months. 

They are raring to go with rehearsals starting in six weeks, before the run of shows begins. 

Dr Ranj, who plays the Royal Doctor and love interest couldn’t be more excited to get on the stage. 

He said: “This is my dream come true. I’ve always loved the theatre and I’ve always thought that it was something I wanted to do and here I am.

"The cast are amazing and I’m just so excited to start working with them. I’ve never been to Bradford before, so I’m really excited to explore the city and I know I’m going to feel at home.”

Producer Jake Hine from Crossroads Pantomimes describes it as being the best one yet. Original songs have been written specially for Sleeping Beauty and extra special effects, that have never been seen at the Alhambra, have been added. 

Billy said: “We’ve got to bring extra joy this year, we’ve got to give more because people have lost more. Families are the heart of the pantomime and I hope that people come out and support us after the pandemic. It’s all just a bit of fun that we get to call our job.”

The Alhambra has hosted a pantomime nearly every year, since 1913. 

Dr Ranj said: “I’ve never been to the Alhambra but it’s reputation precedes itself. So many people have said that it’s one the nicest theatres.”

The Alhambra plays a big part in theatre history, with some of the greatest stars having stepped on its stage.

“Sometimes, when everybody leaves the theatre, I stand centre stage and look out and it’s like the theatre is taking a rest and gathering it’s energy for the next show,” said Billy. 

“Theatre magic is engrained in its bricks and that’s why it’s the best theatre to perform in.”

Tickets are available to purchase through the box office or online.