The Aussie Invasion! Big Down Under!

The Advent  of the Australian Star Pantomimes 1988 to Today

2010 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Australian Soap “Neighbours”. For a quarter of a century, like our own “EastEnders”, this country has taken to its hearts the daily events on Ramsey Street and the events on Summer Bay in  Home And Away.

The programme that gave us Jason, Kylie, Madge and Harold – and Bouncer the dog- is celebrating by offering a British hopeful the chance to audition for a cameo role in the show.

Search For A Star!

Neighbours producers and Channel Five are looking  for a female star to play Poppy Rogers, a friend of Mal Kennedy. Poppy will be a resident of Ramsey Street. Queuing up outside the airport will not be essential at this point, as the hopeful actresses are required to post their audition tapes onto YouTube.

To celebrate Twenty Five Years of Neighbours and those wonderful antipodean actors and actresses who have appeared here in pantomime, Its-behind-you.com presents a look at all things Australian in the Wonderful World not of Oz but of Panto!

The Aussie invasion of panto was begun by the late pantomime producer,( and a friend of mine-) John Farrow. John’s company “Pantomime Productions” was the first to invite the stars of Neighbours to appear in pantomime in this country. In association with Charles Haley Productions (Jennifer Haley and Philip Charles) the stage was set to present the exotic stars from Ramsey Street, and then Summer Bay in your town each Christmas. After John’s death in 1990 John’s business partner Simon Barry continued the process under the banner of New Pantomime Productions (NPP) and continues to present pantomimes today around the UK.

Australia has of course hosted pantomime since the Victorian and Edwardian Era. One of this country’s top Dames, Freddie Lees recalls performing in Pantomime in the early 1960’s at the Playhouse Theatre in Perth, for the National Australian Theatre.

Freddie recalls that the script, scenery and costumes were supplied by Paul Elliott, and he was invited to join the Australian cast while appearing in rep there.

In 1963-4 Freddie Lees played Wishee Washee in “Aladdin”, and the following year played Buttons in “Cinderella” at the Playhouse. In 1965-66 he co directed “Dick Whittington” at Perth.

Freddie remembers how absurd it felt to leave the theatre at the end of  two performances of a  pantomime, stepping into what felt like an oven, dressed in t shirt and shorts! A far cry from what he was used to in the UK Pantomimes!

Spearheading the first wave were Peter O’Brien, Elaine Smith, Anne Charleston, Ray Meagher, Justine Clarke and Guy Pearce. They were among the very first to experience the British speciality that is Pantomime.

John Farrow not only invited Australian Stars to perform in Pantomime, he invited top stars like Peta Toppano and Barry Quin over to appear in plays and Musicals- I worked with them both in “They’re Playing Our Song “ at Hanley, and on tour, and invited Peter O’Brien over to appear in “Buttterflies Are Free” which also toured the UK.

The Cult TV Series “Prisoner- Cell Block H” (Just “Prisoner” in Australia- they did not have the quirky series of the same name that we had in the UK) was turned into a touring play by John Farrow- I was fortunate to work on that as well both in the West End and on tour- and starred several of the original Australian cast – Elspeth Ballyntyne, Fiona Spence, Glenda Linscott and Patsy King amongst them. The UK embraced all things Aussie!

PANTOLAND

Requires Quicktime (MP4 Format)

Documentary following Nigel and Peter as they prepare for the season at Woking

with Rolf Harris, Gary Wilmot, Robin Cousins, Jodie Jackson, Judy Cornwall

1997 Iambic Productions Limited Documentary for Channel 4

FILE ONE (4.63MB - 5 Min)  FILE TWO (4.62MB - 5 Min)  FILE THREE (1.06MB - 2 Min) 

FILE FOUR (4.62MB - 5 Min)  FILE FIVE (4.62 MB - 5 Min)  FILE SIX (3.53MB - 3 Min)

 

Australians and Pantomime: The Origins

Although intrinsically British, the Victorian pantomimes were so hugely successful that their fame spread to parts of the Empire where the “old country” had fond memories. Pantomimes produced at Drury Lane were often exported, using script and scenery and relocated in Melbourne and Sydney around the turn of the century.

FLORRIE FORDE

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One of the stars of British  Music Hall was a woman given the title of “The World’s Greatest Chorus Singer”- Florrie Forde. She was famed for singing the chorus favourite “Down At The Old Bull And Bush”, that quintessential British pub song, written by three Americans and belted out with an Australian twang!

Florrie Forde, stalwart Principal Boy of Pantomime was among the first great Australian stars to perform in Britain. She had appeared in her native Melbourne  where she was born in 1876, and made her pantomime debut in “The House That Jack Built” as Principal Boy in the Polytechnic Theatre Sydney in 1893.

Florrie and a few other Australian Music Hall Stars owed their introductions to Pantomime in Australia and Britain to Harry Rickards, Australia’s greatest impresario. A former comic he promoted his artistes, and sent several of them on the oceans to find fame and fortune here. He made his own fortune in Sydney and died a very wealthy man.

Florrie Forde, a larger than life figure who sang about a “Lassie From Lancashire”, and “Kelly From The Isle Of Man” and berated “Oh! Oh! Antonio!” was a major star in pantomime and on “The Halls” from her debut one Bank Holiday at three halls- The London Pavilion (still standing in Leicester Square) The Oxford (long gone in Oxford Street) and The South London in 1897. She continued to be a major star up until her death in 1940.

Florrie became almost a symbol of The Isle Of Man where she appeared each summer, collected from her boarding house in an open carriage,. And parading regally to the theatre each night! She formed her own troupe “Flo and Co” and encouraged her young ensemble to polish their craft. The young Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen (Of “Crazy Gang” fame) were her protégées, as were Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warris much later.

Florrie’s last panto was in 1935 at the Lyceum Theatre London (currently hosting “The Lion King” ) in “The Forty Thieves” playing the role of Ali Baba’s wife Cogia, opposite George Jackley.

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James Agate the noted critic wrote : “Let it be put down in black and white….when she opens her mouth you can hear every word and every syllable of every word… This artiste has the power to dominate and when she is on stage, you cannot look anywhere else, even if there be room.”

Florrie Forde, the first major Australian Panto star died after entertaining the troupes in Aberdeen,  at the outbreak of World War Two in 1940.

CARRIE MOORE

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Carrie Moore  was a star of Pantomime, revue and plays in Britain from her arrival in the years before the outbreak of World War One. A noted Principal Boy, Carrie played nearly every role in pantomime from 1910 through to her return to Australia in 1940.

Born in Geelong, Australia Carrie was one of four sisters who appeared as children in “Pollard’s Lilliputian Company”. Her sister Olive was later to join her in the UK and they both appeared in the Birmingham Theatre Royal Pantomime.

In Geelong there are a collection of wooden sculptures by the artist Jan Mitchell. They form an arc around Corio Bay. One of these statues is of Carrie Moore, pantomime star – Prince Charming, Robin Hood, Aladdin- a host of roles she portrayed in over thirty years in British Pantomime.

 

RAMSEY STREET & SUMMER BAY 1988 to Today

This article has turned out to be a labour of love- it just kept growing. While I hoped to be able to publish the name and details every actor who has appeared in panto, I am sure there are still a great many missing. Please send any omissions to us, and we’ll gladly add them to what I hope will become the definitive listing!

My thanks to Simon Barry of NPP, to Steve and  the archivists of “Neighbours - the perfect blend” website for all their help and to Ray Meagher.

The First” Aussie” Pantomime:

“Mother Goose” Stockport 1988 Peter O’Brien & Elaine Smith

“Jack and the Beanstalk” Oxford 1988 Anne Charleston

Peter O’Brien and Elaine Smith (Shane and Daphne). Peter played Shane in Neighbours and together with Elaine Smith who played Daphne Lawrence Clark (1985-88).They appeared in one of the earliest Australian vehicle pantomimes- “Mother Goose” at the Davenport Theatre Stockport, in 1988.Directed by John Chilvers and presented by John Farrow, for Pantomime Productions. it also featured Mike Doyle and Andrew Ryan (As King of Goose land).

Peter went on to star in “Flying Doctors” in Australia, and was seen recently in the Hollywood Blockbuster “Wolverine” playing the Father of the young Hugh Jackman in the opening scenes of the film.

John Farrow also presented Anne Charleston (Madge from Neighbours) that same year in “Jack and the Beanstalk” at The Apollo Theatre, Oxford. It also starred Alvin Stardust, Freddy and the Dreamers and Lynsey DePaul.

 

Anne Charleston: Madge from Neighbours

Anne Charleston has the unique distinction of being a long serving Actress  in Neighbours, an Australian “Soap”, and then upon returning to Southern Ireland to live in Galway, she has since appeared in two British Soaps- “Crossroads”, the revival of the original playing Betty Waddell (she ballroom danced with Lionel Blair in one memorable episode) and then appeared in Emmerdale.

Anne also has the great distinction of being television Mother to Kylie Minogue- who played her daughter Charlene Mitchell in “Neighbours.” Her tenure in the Australia series ran from 1986-1992 and again from 1996-2001. During this time she has been Madge Mitchell Ramsay Bishop!

Outside of Pantomime Anne has toured extensively in plays including “Five Blue Haired Ladies Sitting On A Green Park Bench”, in “Cemetery Club”, in “Love Julie” a two hander  with Millicent Martin and in “Hot Flush” The Musical. Anne was among the forerunners of the “Aussie Invasion”- her first appearance in pantomime was in 1988, a year after Guy Pearce first crossed the oceans to colonise pantomime here in the UK!

Joint First Aussie Panto!

1988    Apollo Oxford, the first pantomime to star an Australian Soap star was when Anne Charleston appeared in Jack & The Beanstalk  with Alvin Stardust, Lynsey De Paul, Freddie & The Dreamers and Peter Thorne. For John Farrow ‘s Pantomime Productions & Charles Haley Productions.

1990    Brighton Dome with Ian Smith (Harold From Neighbours).

1991    Theatre Royal Nottingham - Cinderella

1992    Hanley Theatre Royal - Dick Whittington with Ian Smith.

1993    Grand Opera House York - Cinderella

1996    Epsom Playhouse - Sleeping Beauty

1997    Woodville Halls, Gravesend - Cinderella

1998    Pavilion Weymouth - Snow White

1999    Playhouse, Weston Super Mare - Snow White

2000    Redhill Harlequin Theatre - Snow White

2001    Opera House York - Dick Whittington  for NPP

2003    Mansfield Palace - Jack & The Beanstalk. with Andrew Ryan  for UK Productions (UKP)

2004    Anvil Basingstoke - Jack & The Beanstalk (UKP) Handbill

2005    Theatre Royal Bath - Mother Goose (UKP) Handbill

2006    Pavilion Bournemouth - Robin Hood (UKP) Handbill

2007    Swansea Grand - Dick Whittington (UKP)

2009   Marina Lowestoft - Cinderella  (UKP) Handbill

2010 Princess Theatre, Torquay - Aladdin (NPP)

2011 Hexagon, Reading - Aladdin (Imagin) Handbill

Ray Meagher- Alf Stewart. Home And Away

The First Home & Away Panto Star

Ray Meagher, after 22 years, the longest serving actor in “Home & Away” , Ray was the first performer from this show to appear in Pantomime, and, to date has appeared in the greatest number of pantomimes. Along with co-star Justine Clarke he appeared for Montrose Productions at the East London Barking Assembly Hall in 1989, a year after the first Aussie pantomimes on these shores, making him amongst the first “settlers” of panto in the UK.

A veteran of over 60 Television productions that include ”A Country Practice”, “A Fortunate Life”, “Vietnam”, “Raffety’s Rules”  and “Prisoner-Cell Block H”.

For the Panto Seasons in 2010/11 & 2011/12 Ray appeared in “Priscilla” in London’s West End at the Palace Theatre playing the role of Bob.

1989    Barking Assembly Hall - Snow White (Paul Hammond and Chris Yates for Montrose Productions) with Justine Clarke From “Home And Away”. Ray appeared as  Muddles.

1991   Wimbledon - Goldilocks

1992     Victoria Woking - Aladdin

1994     Hippodrome Birmingham - Jack & The Beanstalk” with Mike Doyle.

1995     Mayflower Southampton - Jack & The Beanstalk

1996     Festival Theatre, Chichester - Cinderella

1998      Southend Cliffs Pavilion - Cinderella

1999     Opera House Belfast - Peter Pan with May McFettridge.

2000      Civic Darlington with Stu Francis, Nigel Ellacott & Peter Robbins

2002      Llandudno North Wales Theatre - Peter Pan Handbill

2004        Mansfield - Dick Whittington  Handbill

2005        Bournemouth - Aladdin  Handbill

2006        Blackpool Grand - Dick Whittington  Handbill

2007        Swansea Grand - Dick Whittington with Anne Charleston, Hannah Waterman.

2008        Basingstoke - Aladdin 

2009        Assembly Rooms Tunbridge Wells - Peter Pan  Handbill

In June 2007 Ray appeared in the Musical “Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert” in Sydney playing the role of Bob the Mechanic, a role he repeats at the Palace Theatre London in September 2010 through to March 2011.

 

Ian Smith: Harold Bishop in Neighbours

Following on from the success of the first wave of Australian Panto Stars, John Farrow for Pantomime Productions hit on the “Double Whammy” of starring Ian Smith and Anne Charleston in the same pantomime, thus bringing “Madge and Harold” into the world of Fairytale. It had a magical effect on the box-office too!

Born in 1938, Ian Smith has enjoyed a long career in Australian television both as actor, writer and producer. In 1979 Reg Grundy asked him to be script editor on “Prisoner- Cell Block H”. He also played Ted Douglas in the prison drama and became its associate producer.

When “Prisoner” came to an end Reg Grundy asked Ian to become a script writer for Neighbours and in 1987 he took on the role of Harold Bishop, Madge’s friend. He played Harold from 1987 to 1991 when Harold was drowned at sea.

Miraculously five years later Harold, a good swimmer but suffering from amnesia, was discovered calling himself Ted, and returned to Ramsay Street from 1996 until his character retired in 2007.Ianhimself appeared in “Cinderella” at The Opera House York that Christmas.

1990   Brighton Dome with Anne Charleston from Neighbours.

1991   Birmingham Hippodrome - Cinderella

1992   Hanley Theatre Royal - Dick Whittington with Anne Charleston.

1993    Mayflower Southampton - Cinderella

1999    Pavilion Porthcawl - Jack & The Beanstalk

2000    Princess Torquay - Dick Whittington (NPP)

2005    White Rock Hastings - Aladdin (NPP)

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2007     Opera House York - Cinderella (NPP)  Handbill

 

Lynne McGranger- Irene in Home & Away

Born in 1953 Lynne, who plays Irene Roberts, is the second longest serving cast member on Home and Away since she became a permanent cast member in 1993.

She was originally a primary school teacher before starting a career on stage, before a small role in The Flying Doctors bought her onto the TV radar.

1997    Torquay Princess Theatre - Jack & The Beanstalk (NPP)

1998    York Opera House - Jack & The Beanstalk (NPP)

2000    Ashton Hippodrome - Aladdin  (NPP)

2001    Southport Theatre - Jack & The Beanstalk (NPP)

2003  Grand Opera House, York - Jack and the Beanstalk (NPP)

2004   Theatre Royal, Lincoln - Cinderella with Martin Daniels

2006   White Rock Theatre, Hastings - Cinderella (NPP)

2009   Grand Opera House, York - Snow White (NPP)

2010 - Kings Theatre, Southsea - Jack and the Beanstalk (NPP)

 

Didn’t They Do Well?

While Kylie and Jason have yet to tread the panto boards, The Australian Soaps provided not just a few hundred Pantomime Stars, but International Pop Stars, Hollywood Film Stars and an array of very fine performers. Among the Artistes who travelled to distant shores for Fame and Fortune can be found the following:1993.

Guy Pearce- Mike Young in Neighbours

“Priscilla”, “The Time Machine” “Memento”

Born in Ely Cambridgeshire, in 1967, Guy’s family emigrated to Australia when he was aged three and a half years old. His pantomime at the Charter Theatre Preston meant Guy was among the earliest Australian stars appearing in panto.

He first appeared in Neighbours in 1986 and remained until 1989. Teacher Mike was a friend of Jason Donovan’s Scott Robinson and Kylie Minogue’s Charlene Mitchell. He later made appearances in “Home and Away”.

Since playing Mike Young in Neighbours he has become a film star in both Australia and in America-His first Australian film being “Heaven Tonight”. His films include “Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert” in 1994, which became a worldwide success, followed by the movie “LA Confidential “, “The Time Machine”, ”Memento” in 2000, “The Count Of Monte Christo” and in 2007 Guy portrayed Andy Warhol in the film “Factory Girl” opposite Sienna Miller.

1989 Cinderella - Charter Theatre Preston., Guy played Dandini.

1991 Cinderella - Apollo Oxford with Emily Symons. Guy played Buttons (presented by Albermarle, directed by Paul Hammond)

 Isla Fisher-Shannon Reed in Home & Away (1994-1997)

“Confessions of a Shopaholic” “Burke & Hare” “Wedding Crashers”

Isla Fisher, the “Confessions of a Shopaholic” star, has enjoyed am impressive film career since leaving Home And Away . This year, 2010 Isla got married to long term partner, Sasha Baron Cohen (Ali G , Bruno and Borat) in a ceremony in Paris. They have a daughter Olive and have recently purchased the £2Million Hollywood property formerly owned by Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston.

Isla was born in 1976 in Muscat, Oman of Scottish parents. Brought up in Perth she appeared in “Paradise Beach” in 1993  before joining the cast of Home & Away in 1994 through to 1997. She appeared in 66 epiosodes.

Islas has recently completed filming on “Burke And Hare” in the UK, (2010) and “Confessions Of A Shopaholic” (2009), “Wedding Crashers”, “Horton Hears A Who!” (Voice), “Definitely Maybe” (2008), “Hot Rod”, “The Look Out”, “Scooby Doo” (2002) “Beastmaster” 2002 and played Bet in “Oliver Twist” on television. Isla Fisher toured the UK in “Summer Holiday” the Musical with Darren Day, Hilary O’Neil and Peter Baldwin.

1997    Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall - Aladdin

1998    Manchester Palace Theatre - Cinderella  with  Darren Day

 

Natalie Imbruglia-Beth Brennan Willis in Neighbours (1991-94)

“Torn” “Counting The Days”

International pop singer and actress Natalie Imbruglia was just sixteen when she joined the cast of  Neighbours in 1991. Currently she has had two hit albums (“Counting The Days” went to Number One in 2005) and seven hit singles in a pop career that began three years after leaving the show.-she launched herself with “Torn” which took her to the top of the charts. Her debut album “Left Of The Middle” sold seven million copies.

Recently Natalie has completed the movie “Closed For Winter”, her first starring role having co-starred with Rowan Atkinson in “Johnny English” in 2003.

The one time face of L’Oreal , Natalie has recently completed the Virgin London Marathon (April 2010) and her fifth album “Come to Life” is out in 2010.

1993    Marlowe Theatre Canterbury - Snow White (with Kate Gorman from Neighbours) for Pantoni Productions. Natalie appeared in the title role.

In this pantomime Muddles was to be played by Spike Milligan, who was billed on the posters, but a triple heart bypass surgery meant the legendary comic did not appear. His role was taken on by Meridian TV’s Simon Perry.

In 1995 Natalie Imbruglia was billed on posters for The Orchard Theatre Dartford’s Cinderella, starring Barbara Windsor with Mark Curry. A glitch in work permit papers meant she was unable to appear, and the role of Cinderella went to Joanne Farrell.

 

Craig Mclachlan- Henry Ramsay In Neighbours and Grant Mitchell in “Home & Away

Craig played Henry Ramsay (Kylie’s brother) in Neighbours for two years from 1987 before moving to Home And Away appearing as school teacher Grant Mitchell.(1989-91)

Currently appearing as Billy Flynn in the musical “Chicago”, Craig has completed the Australian run, and is currently with the show in Singapore and Hong King.

In 2007 he appeared as Caractacus Potts in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” at the Mayflower Theatre Southampton, where he also appeared in “White Christmas” playing Bob Wallace, also appearing with it in Edinburgh Festival and in Cardiff Millennium Centre.

In 1995 he appeared on British television screens in the Sci-Fi series “Bugs” and in the film “Catherine The Great” that year with Catherine Zeta Jones and Omar Sharif. Recent films have included some in Australia and  “Superfire” in the US, and the television series “McLeods Daughters” in America.

 He played the lead role Danny Zuko in “Grease” in London’s West End during 1993.

2008     Prince Charming In Cinderella at the Mayflower Southampton

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton - Cinderella

 Stefan Dennis- Paul Robinson in Neighbours

Stefan plays Paul Robinson in “Neighbours”, also appearing in “Flying Doctors”, “Young Doctors” and, like Anne Charleston has appeared in a British “Soap”- “River City” for BBC Scotland. While resident here in the UK Stefan worked in all branches of the theatre and film industry, directing and producing. He toured the UK with “Whose Life Is It Anyway” , and played Mickey in “Blood Brothers”. British TV appearances also include “The Bill” and “Casualty”.

I had the pleasure of working with Stefan in “Cinderella” at The Bournemouth Pavilion in 1992, when Stefan played Buttons, directed by Carole Todd. His character was at the centre of a major story line that Christmas, and he met his demise in the series- or not, as the case was, since Paul Robinson is alive and well and I met up with Stefan last Christmas when I saw him play the Evil scheming Dandini in Wolverhampton panto, alongside The Krankies and Phantom star, Nic Greenshields.

1990-91 Babes in the Wood - Liverpool Empire.

1991-92 Aladdin - Mayflower Southampton with Danny La Rue

1992-93 Cinderella - Bournemouth

1993-94  Jack and the Beanstalk - Wimbledon

1994-95 Peter Pan - Blackpool with Patrick Mower & Tom Bright

1998-99 Aladdin - Weston Super Mare playing Abanazar (Paul Holman)

2007-08 Aladdin Aberdeen (After a nine year  gap)

2009-10 Cinderella - Wolverhampton Grand as Evil Dandini.

 

Neighbours Artistes: In Alphabetical Order

Paige Alcock- Nadia Hall in Neighbours

2002    Worthing Summer season - The Wizard Of Oz

2002    Fernham Hall Fareham - Aladdin (with Alvin Stardust and Julie Paton)

 

Felice Arena- Marco Alessi in Neighbours

1996    Newcastle - Aladdin

 

Melissa Bell- Lucy Robinson in Neighbours

1992    Torquay Princess Theatre - Cinderella  with Maggie Dence

1995    Mansfield - Snow White

 

Andrew Bibby- Lance in Neighbours

2000    Gatehouse Stafford - Dick Whittington

2001    Gatehouse Stafford - Cinderella   with Jackie Woodburne

 

Gayle & Gillian Blakeney- “The Twins”-Christina & Caroline Alessi in Neighbours

Gayle and Gillian( Neighbours 1990-1992) appeared in pantomime in the UK together and individually during the mid 1990’s.

Gayle & Gillian together:

1992    Empire Liverpool - Dick Whittington

1993    Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl - Cinderella

Gayle Blakeney

1994    Basingstoke Anvil - Cinderella

Gillian Blakeney

1994    Northampton Derngate Theatre - Dick Whittington

 

Natalie Blair-Carmilla in Neighbours

2007    Music Hall Shrewsbury - Snow White

 

Chelsea Blake- Sharon Gates in Neighbours

1999    Woodville Halls, Gravesend - Jack & The Beanstalk

 

Carla Bonner- Stephanie Scully in Neighbours (1999-)

2003    Arena, St.Albans - Cinderella

 

Jay Bunyan- Jack Scully in Neighbours 2002-2005

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2004    Churchill Bromley - Aladdin with Karl Howman & Tudor Davies.

 

Nick Carrafa- Tony Romeo & Peter Hannay in Neighbours (1987-88/1999)

1990    Marlowe Canterbury - Peter Pan with Fiona Corke

 

Josephine Clark- Jamie Lee Duggan/Allana Truman in Neighbours

2001    Sevenoaks Stag Theatre - Cinderella

 

Shane Connor- Phil Hoffman & Joe Scolly in Neighbours

2002    Dartford Orchard Theatre - Jack & The Beanstalk

2005    Regent Stoke - Mother Goose  Handbill

 

Fiona Corke- Gail Robinson in Neighbours (1987-89 & 2005/6)

1990    Marlowe Canterbury - Peter Pan with Nick Carrafa

 

Lucinda Cowden: Melanie Pearson. Neighbours.

1992  Marlowe Theatre Canterbury - Aladdin: for Pantoni

1995 Aladdin - Little Theatre Middlesborough? (billed Lucinda Cowan?)

1997 Babes In The Wood - Theatre Royal Norwich

2004 Civic Bedworth - Peter Pan

2005 Civic Doncaster - Aladdin.

2006 Gala Theatre Durham - Peter Pan

2007 Library Theatre Luton - Aladdin.

 

Bernard Curry- Luke Handley in Neighbours (1995-96)

1997    Reading - Snow White

 

Maggie Dence- Dorothy Burke in Neighbours (1990-93)

1992    Torquay Princess Theatre - Cinderella with Melissa Bell

1994    Stevenage Gordon Craig - Snow White

 

Terence Donovan- Doug Willis in Neighbours & Home And Away

1994    Weymouth - Peter Pan

1995    Plymouth Theatre Royal - Mother Goose with Roy Hudd and Jack Tripp.

 

Jonathan Dutton - Tad in Neighbours

2001    Tameside Hippodrome, Ashton - Cinderella

2002    Tour-Princess Theatre Torquay and Widnes Queens Theatre - Jack & The Beanstalk

 

Anthony Engelman- “Stonefish” in Neighbours

1996    Charter Theatre, Preston - Dick Whittington

1997    Wolverhampton Grand - Aladdin with John Altman & Cannon & Ball

 

Dan Falzon- Rick Alessi in Neighbours (1992-95)

1995    Swansea Grand - Jack & The Beanstalk

 

Alan Fletcher- Dr.Karl Kennedy in Neighbours (1988 then 1994-)

Alan played a small role as Greg Cooper in 1988, and after leaving Ramsey street continued his theatre and television  career in Australia and in the US. That is how a star of Neighbours once played Morgan Fairchild’s fiancé in the US hit show “The Love Boat!” He returned to Ramsey street in 1994 on a ten year contract, and is still there, but as Dr. Karl Kennedy to this day.

1999    Llandudno - Aladdin

2000    Sheffield Lyceum - Peter Pan

2002    Arena St. Albans - Jack & The Beanstalk  Handbill

2004    Malvern Theatre - Aladdin

2008    His Majesty’s Aberdeen - Peter Pan

 

Amelia Frid- Cody in Neighbours

1992    Apollo Oxford - Aladdin  with Ashley Paske

 

Kate Gorman- Sue Parker in Neighbours (1986-87)

1993  Marlowe Theatre Canterbury - Snow White with Natalie Imbruglia

Kate played the role of Fairy Snowflake in this Pantoni Production.

 

Elisha Gazdowicz- Jessica Fielding In Neighbours

2001    Beck  Hayes - Dick Whittington with Ryan Moloney

 

Richard Grieve- Sam Kratz in Neighbours 1994-2005, and Lachlan Fraser in Home & Away (1997-98)

Richard, now resident in the UK also appeared in “Emmerdale” from 2007 playing Jonny Foster. His Theatre work in the UK includes “Teen Scream” at Lincoln, tours of “Dial M For Murder” and in “Daisy Miller”.

2003    Pavilion Porthcawl - Beauty & The Beast

2004    Harlequin Redhill - Snow White   (Paul Holman)

2005    Oakengates Telford - Dick Whittington

2006    Catford Theatre, Lewisham - Cinderella

2008    Camberley - Jack & The Beanstalk

2009    Watersmeet Rickmansworth - Snow White.

 

Linda Hartley- Kerry Bishop in Neighbours

1990    Preston Charter Theatre - Mother Goose with Kristian Schmid

 

Patrick Harvey- Connor in Neighbours

2004    Chatham - Cinderella  for Kevin Wood

2006    Worthing - Aladdin

 

Stephen Hunt- Mathew Hancock in Neighbours (2001-05/2005)

2002    Stevenage Arts & Leisure - Cinderella

 

Mark Little- Joe Mangle in Neighbours

Mark Little has a successful career as both “Stand up” comic and actor here in the UK, and sells out with his show “Defending The Caveman” in London’s West End and around the UK.

1991          Sunderland Empire - Snow White

1998          Worthing Pavilion - Aladdin

1999          Komedia Brighton - Beauty & The Beast

2001          Worthing Pavilion - Jack & The Beanstalk

2004          Playhouse Sevenoaks - Wind In The Willows.

2006          Swansea Grand - Aladdin

2007          Worthing Pavilion - Aladdin

2008          Worthing Pavilion - Snow White

 

Daniel MacPherson- Joel in Neighbours

1999    Halifax Victoria - Jack & The Beanstalk

2000    Canterbury - Cinderella

2001    Canterbury - Aladdin with Paul Hendy for Kevin Wood

 

Blair McDonough- Stuart Parker in Neighbours (2001-06)

Blair was a contestant in the first Big Brother Television programme in Australia. As a result of this, he was approached by Neighbours and appeared for the next five years, before locating to the UK where he has appeared in several reality style shows on TV.

2002    Marlowe Canterbury - Dick Whittington

2005    Gatehouse Stafford - Cinderella

 

Benjie McNair- Malcolm Kennedy in Neighbours

Appearances also in “Home & Away”

1997    Sunderland Empire - Cinderella

1999    Tunbridge Wells - Snow White

 

Maggie Millar- Rosie Hoyland in Neighbours (2002-03)

2002    Opera House York - Aladdin

2003    Princess Torquay & Widnes - Cinderella

 

Benjamin Mitchell- Cameron in Neighbours

Benjamin Mitchell appeared in an Easter production of “Beauty and The Beast” at Bognor Regis for Bruce James Productions, in addition to

1994    Charter Preston - Cinderella  (NPP)

 

Ryan Moloney- Jarrod “Toadfish” Rebecchi in Neighbours

2001    Beck Hayes - Dick Whittington with Elisha Gazdowicz

2005    Marlowe, Canterbury - Cinderella with Sheila Ferguson & Andy Scott Lee

2007    Lyceum Sheffield - Cinderella

 

Julie Mullins-  Julie Robinson Martin in Neighbours (1992-94)

1995    Bath Theatre Royal - Sleeping Beauty

 

Jessica Muschamp: Sharon in Neighbours.(1998-90)

1990   Snow White - Theatre Royal Hanley With Fiona Spence  (for John Farrow)

1991   Cinderella - Venue Unknown

1992   Aladdin - Harlequin Redhill with Andrew Ryan  (for Kevin Wood)

Toured the UK in “Don’t Dress For Dinner”, “Tilly” a Musical and “Teething Troubles” with Gary Wilmot.

 

Ben Nicholas- Scott “Stingray” Timmins in Neighbours (2003-06)

2006    Canterbury - Jack & The Beanstalk

2007    Stevenage Gordon Craig - Cinderella

In 2007 Ben played the Artful Dodger in “Oliver” at Chatham for “Evolution”, a role he had previously played in Australia.

2008    Stevenage Gordon Craig - Jack & The Beanstalk

During the Summer of 2008 Ben appeared in Disney’s “High School Musical” at The Hammersmith Apollo Theatre, London.

 

Richard Norton- Appearances in Neighbours & Home & Away

1994    Barnsley Civic - Dick Whittington

1997    Poole Arts Centre - Cinderella

Richard is now a Production Manager for Welsh National Opera

 

Dan O’Connor- Ned Parker in “Neighbours”(2005-08)

As Daniel O’Connor-

2006    Aberdeen His Majesty's - Cinderella

2007    Hull New Theatre - Jack & The Beanstalk”

 

Tom Oliver - Lou Carpenter in Neighbours

Hampshire born Tom Oliver is the longest serving character in “Neighbours”. He also played the reformed ex con Ken Pierce in “Prisoner- Cell Block H”.

1997    Worthing - Robinson Crusoe

1999    Hastings - Cinderella

 

Dan Paris- Drew Kirk in Neighbours

2001    Crawley Hawth - Jack & The Beanstalk

2002    Wolverhampton Grand - Snow White

2003    Swansea Grand - Cinderella

Click on image to enlarge

2004    Belfast Opera House - Jack &  The Beanstalk

 

Ashley Paske- Matt in Neighbours

1992    Apollo Oxford - Aladdin  with Amelia Frid  (for Apollo)

1993    Charter Preston - Jack & The Beanstalk

 

Mark Raffety- Dr.Darcy in Neighbours

2002    Southsea Kings Theatre - Dick Whittington

2003    Thameside Hippodrome Ashton - Dick Whittington

2004    Princess Theatre, Torquay - Snow White

2005    Opera House, York - Snow White

 

Ian Rawlings- Philip Martin in Neighbours

1999    Beck Theatre Hayes - Aladdin

 

Rebecca Ritters- Hannah Martin in Neighbours (1992-99)

Theatre, Maidstone - The Wizard Of Oz

 

Jaime Robbie Reyne - Taj Coppin in “Neighbours”(2002-04)

2003    Chatham Central Theatre - Snow White

 

Simone Robertson- Phoebe in Neighbours

1993    Thameside Hippodrome Ashton - Aladdin

1994    Cambridge Corn Exchange - Cinderella (for E&B/NTE)

 

Lara Sacher-  Serena Bishop in Neighbours (2003-05)

2007    Crewe Lyceum Theatre - Beauty And The Beast

 

Bruce Samazan- Mark Gottlieb in Neighbours(1993-95)

1995    Swan Wycombe - Snow White

 

Kristian Schmid -  Todd Landers  in Neighbours.

Later appeared in remake of Tomorrow People as Adam Newman in the 1990’s.

1990   Preston Charter Theatre - Mother Goose with Linda Hartley  (for John Farrow)

1993   Orchard Dartford - Dick Whittington

1994   Dick Whittington  -  Wycombe

1995   Dick Whittington  at The Dome Brighton.

 

Jansen Spencer - Paul McLean in Neighbours 1997-2001.

Returned for 20th Anniversary cameo in 2005.

1999-2000  Cinderella - Sheffield Lyceum  as Prince Charming with Andrew Ryan

2000-2001  Snow White - Swansea Grand.

2001-02    Cinderella - His Majesty's Aberdeen with Nigel Ellacott. & Peter Robbins.

2002-03   Snow White - Hull New Theatre

2003-04   Snow White - Kings Southsea.

 

Jesse Spencer- Billy Kennedy In Neighbours (1994-2000)

1998    Hastings - Peter Pan

1999    Wolverhampton Grand - Jack & The Beanstalk with John Nettles

 

Caitlin Stasey- Rachel Kinski in Neighbours

2008    Norwich Theatre Royal - Snow White

 

Jacinta Stapleton- Amy Greenwood in Neighbours (1997-2000)

1999    Wyvern Theatre Swindon - Snow White

 

Eliza Taylor Cotter- Jacinta Martin (2003) and Janae Timmins (2005-08) in Neighbours

2007    Pavilion Weymouth - Snow White

 

Kym Valentine- Libby Kennedy in Neighbours

1996    Llandudno - Cinderella

1998    Beck Theatre Hayes - Snow White

2000    Reading - Cinderella

2002    Hawth Crawley - Peter Pan

 

Sarah Vandenbergh- Lauren Carpenter in Neighbours

1996    Swansea Grand - Robin Hood

1997    Redhill Harlequin - Jack & The Beanstalk

1999    Camberley Arts Link - Dick Whittington

 

Krista Vendy- Tess in Neighbours

2001    Southsea Kings - Cinderella

 

Madeleine West- Dione Bliss in Neighbours (2000-2003)

2002    Weymouth Pavilion - Snow White

 

Ian Williams- Adam Willis in Neighbours (1990-91)

2001    Shaw Theatre London - Snow White

 

Jackie Woodburne-  Susan Kennedy in Neighbours and Julie Egbert in “Prisoner”

2000    Worthing - Snow White (for Hammond Prods)

2001    Gatehouse Stafford - Cinderella   with Andrew Bibby

 

Home and Away

Ray Meagher was the first Home And Away star to appear in Pantomime in ther UK, and among the first wave of Australian artistes to appear in panto. He did his first, “Snow White” in 1989, a year after the first Australian pantomime that starred Peter O’Brien, Elaine Smith and  Anne Charleston. Ray co starred with Justine Clarke from Home And Away at the Barking Theatre in East London.

Other Summer Bay residents who have enjoyed a panto season in the United Kingdom include Hollywood Film Star Isla Fisher.

Artistes from Home & Away: In alphabetical order:

John Adam-Luke Cunningham in  Home & Away (1994)

1994    Beck Theatre Hayes - Beauty And The Beast

 

Craig Beemer-Bill Cunningham in  Home & Away (1993)

1995    Southsea Kings Theatre - Cinderella

 

Greg Benson: Matt Wilson in Home And Away. (1988-91 /2002)

1991     Theatre Royal Hanley - Aladdin with Fiona Spence

 

Daniel Collopy- Josh West in Home & Away

2004   Stockport Plaza - Snow White

 

Kimberley Cooper- Gypsy Nash in Home & Away (2002)

2002   Shrewsbury Music Hall - Sleeping Beauty  (for John Spillers)

 

Nicholle Dickson- Bobby Simpson in Home & Away (1987-1993)

1993    Weymouth Pavilion - Cinderella with Alex Papps

 

Rebecca Elmaloglou-Sophie Simpson in Home & Away (1989-93 & 2002-05)

Rebecca also has three brothers, Dominic, Tony and Sebastian who have all appeared in Home & Away. Her Mother is Dame Judy Dench’s cousin!

1993    Leicester De Montford Hall - Aladdin with Sean Maguire

1994    Inverness Eden Court - Snow White

 

Stephen James King- Edward Dunglass in Home & Away

2000      Worthing Pavilion - Snow White with Jackie Woodburne

2001       Crewe Lyceum - Cinderella with Keith Harris

 

Brendan Mckensy- Duncan Stewart- Home & Away. 2001

2001  Central Theatre Chatham - Peter Pan

 

Ross Newton- Greg in Home & Away

1994    Cambridge Corn Exchange - Cinderella

 

Paul O’Brien- Jack Holden in Home & Away

2007      Gravesend Woodville Halls & Majestic Retford - Aladdin (Spillers)

 

Alex Papps- Frank Morgan in Home & Away (1988-2002) and Flying Doctors

1999          Pavilion Weymouth - Cinderella

 

Michael Piccirilli- Dr.James Frazer in Home & Away

2000      Fareham, Ferneham Hall - Peter Pan

  

Kate Richie- Sally in Home & Away

1999    Newcastle Tyne Theatre - Sleeping Beauty

2000    Croydon Ashcroft - Jack & The Beanstalk

2001    Southampton Mayflower - Dick Whittington with Jim Davidson

 

Bruce Roberts-Nick Parish in Home & Away (1991-94)

1993    Swansea Grand Theatre - Sleeping Beauty

1994    Wolverhampton Grand - Cinderella

1997    Nottingham Theatre Royal - Cinderella with Bradley Walsh, Judy Cornwell, Peter Baldwin and  Nigel Ellacott & Peter Robbins

 

Dee Smart- Home & Away

1993    Hull New Theatre - Snow White

 

Fiona Spence-Celia Stewart in Home & Away  1988-90

Officer Vera Bennett in “Prisoner- Cell Block H”

Born in  Great Britain in 1948 Fiona Spence emigrated to Australia when in her 20’s.

In Home And Away Fiona Spence played Celia,  the sister of Ray Meagher’s character Alf Stewart.

Fiona Spence played the role of Wardress Vera Bennett in “Prisoner- Cell Block H” from 1979 until she left the series in 1981. Maggie Kirkpatrick took over as head wardress Joan Fergusson. In 1986 Ray Meagher played the corrupt Governor Ernest Craven of Blackmoor Prison in “Cell Block H”.

Prisoner- Cell Block H  ran from 1979-1986. It was a hit in Australia and America, and later in the UK.There were two versions that toured the UK- The Play version (which I costumed) that toured the UK in 1989-90 and played The Dominion Theatre In London’s West End, and the later  Musical Version starring Paul O’Grady’s Lily Savage alongside Bella Emberg and Maggie KirkPatrick- The Soap’s original Wardress Joan “The Freak” Fergusson. It too played a season in London’s West End at The Victoria Palace.

In the Television and stage versions Elspeth Ballantyne played Warder Meg and  Fiona Spence played  Warder Vera Bennett .The television series finally ended in 1986 after Eight Years and 692 episodes.

“Aussie soap star Fiona Spence is a closet glamour puss, purring to come out.  But to millions of TV viewers she's vicious-tempered Vera Bennett of Prisoner: Cell Block H, or Home and Away's resident busy-body Celia Stewart. Neither role gives her any scope to shine as a clothes horse. As the spinsterish warder of Wentworth Detention Centre or the time-warped Summer Bay gossip she shows about as much fashion sense as Dame Edna

For the next few months she's going to be serving time in her screws' uniform during a stage tour of Britain with Cell Block H that starts tomorrow. For 42-year-old Fiona it will be both a homecoming - she was born in Kent to an Irish mother and Australian father - and a stage debut here. (Daily Mirror 1990)
 

1990    Theatre Royal Hanley - Snow White as Wicked Queen with Jessica Muschamp

1991   Theatre Royal, Hanley - Aladdin  with Home and Away‘s Greg Benson

 

Ben Steel- Jude in Home & Away 02/04

2002          Ashton Tameside Hippodrome - Snow White (NPP)

2004          Hastings White Rock - Snow White (NPP)

 

Emily Symons- Marilyn Chambers in ”Home & Away”

Emily Symons, born Sydney 1969 played Marilyn Chambers in “Home and Away” from 1989 for several years before leaving to live in England in 1996. She appeared for Eight years in “Emmerdale” as Barmaid Louise Appleton, and, in 2010 has returned to Summer Bay as Marilyn once again in “Home & Away”.

Engaged to Footballer Matt Le Tissier, who she met while appearing at the Mayflower Pantomime, she later married Lorenzo Smith- 2nd son of Viscount Hambleden, and descendant of the W.H.Smith Stationary Empire.They were to divorce two years later.

1991  Oxford Apollo - Cinderella with Guy Pearce

1992   Bristol Hippodrome - Jack and the Beanstalk

1993  New Theatre, Cardiff - Snow White with Marti Caine and Derek Griffiths

1997    Birmingham Hippodrome - Goldilocks  with Frank Bruno and Mike Doyle

1998    Mayflower Southampton - Goldilocks with Frank Bruno

 

Aleetza Wood- Peta Janossi in Home & Away

2000    Swindon Wyvern Theatre - Aladdin   for Charles Vance      

 

Kristy Wright- Chloe in Home & Away (2000)

1999          Melton Mowbray Theatre - Peter Pan  (Williams Ent. Ltd)

2000          “Stardust, “ Bardon Leicestershire - Peter Pan

 

The Following Artistes from Home & Away appeared in pantomime – dates & venues to be confirmed.

Josephine Clark- Allana Truman in Home & Away 2001

 

From “Heartbreak High “

Alex Dimitriades- Heartbreak High

1996     Corn Exchange Cambridge - Aladdin

 

Marcel Bracks-Heartbreak High

1999      Stevenage Gordon Craig Theatre - Aladdin

 

Mario Gamma- D’Espo in Heartbreak High

1999      Gravesend Woodville Hall - Jack & The Beanstalk   (Spillers)

 

Scott Jones- Heartbreak High

1999     Gravesend - Jack & The Beanstalk

 

From “Sons And Daughters”

Danny Roberts- Sons and Daughters

1988    Redhill Harlequin Theatre - Jack and The Beanstalk  (Spillers)

 

This page was last updated 9th July 2014

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