An actor from County Durham is all set to infuse some holiday cheer into the very theatre where she experienced her inaugural pantomime.

Beloved by audiences, Jude Nelson is making a comeback to Gala Durham, starring in its enchanting new show, Cinderella.

This time playing Cinderella’s best friend Buttons, Jude was a hit with audiences when she played Sammie the Dog in last year’s pantomime Sleeping Beauty. 

This summer, the Burnopfield actor appeared in the theatre’s touring outdoor production, A Mad Hatter’s Adventure.

Jude said: “I’m delighted to be part of Gala Durham’s panto this year and am very much looking forward to chatting to audiences again but this year as Buttons.

“Gala was the place where I saw my first ever panto, so it’s very special to me that I now get to be on the stage I used to watch people perform on when I was younger.” 

Jude will be joined by another Gala favourite Sarah Boulter and Newcastle actor Rosie Stancliffe, who will be making her panto debut at the theatre.

North East performer Sarah is no stranger to Gala Durham pantos, having played Princess Jilliana in Jack and the Beanstalk in 2016, and Miranda the Mirror in Snow White in 2018.

Gala Durham's Cinderella Welcomes Local Favorites
Sarah Boulter and Rosie Stancliffe as the wicked stepsisters

More recently, Sarah was also in Gala Durham’s acclaimed production of Brassed Off.

She said: “I’m very excited to be back at Gala Durham this year.

“Having played characters considered to be ‘good’ in previous pantos, I’m very much looking forward to embracing my wicked side in Cinderella.”

Sarah will be sharing the spotlight with Rosie as they play the wickedly hilarious stepsisters, Monophobia and Philophobia.

This will be Rosie’s second appearance on the Gala stage this year, having appeared in the venue’s co-production of Beyond Caring, which toured venues across County Durham.

Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “With just days to go, we are incredibly excited to be kicking off the festive season with the start of Cinderella.

“This year’s panto features an incredible cast of North East actors, many of which are returning to the Gala Durham stage having already hit it off with audiences in other productions. Cinderella promises to be a spectacularly hilarious production with a talented cast to match. It is a show that’s certainly not to be missed.”

Following its acclaimed production of Alice in Wonderland, Gala Durham will bring a new take on the oldest fairy tale of all time.

In the magical land of No-Place Hall, audiences are invited to step into the enchanted world of Cinderella where they’ll meet the hardworking and clever Ella or ‘Cinderella’ as her evil stepmother Lady Longbottom calls her.

With the help of her outrageous and funny Fairy Godmother, her best friend Buttons and Pipsqueak the mouse, find out if Ella will find the love of her life or spend the rest of it running around after her stepsisters Monophobia and Philophobia.   

Full of magic and excitement, audiences can expect breath-taking dance routines, sing-along music and unforgettable moments as Gala Durham brings this timeless fairy tale to life. 

Written by Gary Kitching and directed by Rachel Glover, have a ball with Gala Durham’s panto from Thursday 23 November to Saturday 6 January.

Tickets priced from £8, with family discounts also available, can be booked by calling 03000 266 600 or online at  

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