“Oh no she isn’t, Oh yes she is!” Cheryl Fergison chats to us about ‘a whole new world’ of panto

Date Published: 18 November 2021
Poster advertising Aladdin: "Your Gainsborough Panto is the most magical of them all"

Swapping the TV screen for the big screen, Ex Eastenders star Cheryl prepares to bring her mischievous character ‘Spirit of the Ring’ to West Lindsey’s very own panto this year. 

Audiences will be whisked away on a magical carpet ride of a performance as they sit back in our very own Trinity Arts Centre in Gainsborough.  

Cheryl is excited to meet and greet audience throughout the panto season –making their theatre experience a little extra special. 

She said: “I am very grateful that people would pay and come and see something with their hard-earned money and choose to come and see us for a few hours to let us entertain them. We will make sure that they have a really good time, and join in the fun, just come and chill out for a couple of hours, let the kids enjoy the show.”  

This will be the first time in two years that audiences in the town will have been able to sit and enjoy a pantomime at the Trinity Arts Centre, due to Covid-19. And we are pulling out all the stops to make this magical fantasy story of Aladdin come to life. 

Cheryl, who many of you will know as ‘Heather Trott’ in Eastenders, has not visited Gainsborough or performed in the intimate setting of Trinity Arts Centre but she is looking to embracing it all. 

She said: “Every now and then I like to do a smaller venue, so audience can come and see someone in their hometown without having to travel miles. Looking at pictures of the arts centre, I just like that intimacy as you can’t hide anything. Nothing can be a distraction, it’s like we’re all having a big party in one room.” 

Since leaving Eastenders in 2012, Cheryl has been non-stop performing in musicals all around the country. The 56-year-old actress will be playing a newly-created pantomime character in this years’ performance.  

Cheryl is excited to play ‘Spirit of the Ring’ in the panto. She said: “This for me is obviously a nice role, she’s the good genie. It’s fun, it’s a bit winky winky, a bit mischievous, and definitely on the children’s side.  

“Generally, my sort of mantra is giving people confidence, I think that’s how I want to play Spirit of The Ring. I want the character to show it doesn’t matter what you are, who you are, what you do, how scared you are or how small you are, you can get through life and it’s going to be good. If you believe in yourself, that’s all that matters, everything else is irrelevant!” 

Cheryl is no stranger to promoting a spectacular performance, and has teased us with some of the magical things, audience we will see throughout the show. 

“I think there’s gonna be some really special moments in the panto,” she said, “there’s an illusion of a big genie and there are flying carpets! There’s going to be something for everybody in it. Genuinely in the intimate space we have, I think they will feel like they’re getting an absolutely wonderful production and getting their money’s worth.” 

The star keeps her self-grounded and likes to do things that also benefit the local community which is important to her.  

She said:  “My route is community theatre and theatre in education. It’s not all about living in London or a big city, it’s about community and about trying to find that again after all this time. I’m especially excited about coming to the Trinity Arts Centre for Christmas this year, as it’s going to have a great community feel. Hopefully I’ll be able to do some meet and greets and see some people afterwards, I might be able to pop out and say hello.” 

Cheryl has also teamed up with David Walliams for a new Christmas fantasy to be showcased on Sky TV over the Christmas holidays, Hansel and Gretel After Ever After. 

Reflecting on her role in Aladdin, Cheryl said: “We’ve all been brought up to believe the fairy tale of princes and princesses, and that we all live happily ever after. And in a weird kind of way, the filming that I have done for Hansel & Gretel, After Ever After, with David Walliams, it’s basically sort of saying, what happens after the ever after? What happens when you think it’s all nice? Well, sometimes it isn’t, but we can make the best of a bad thing. I love a traditional panto, but I think we have the obligational to push the boundaries a bit more, and make the audience question things a bit more.”  

The Ex-Eastenders describes herself as being very hands on, adding: “What you’ll get to know about me is that I’m quite hands on. You could find me serving someone a cup of coffee in the café, theatre is like family and you have to treat it as everybody in the building has a purpose. It’s all about respect, and I think if that comes across as a team effort in the theatre, then that will certainly come across to the audience. ”  

There is less than a month to wait, let Cheryl and Anton Benson Productions take you to a whole new world this Christmas and fill you with laughter.  

Rounding up and sending a direct message to residents and visitors to West Lindsey, Cheryl added: “Just come and see it, have a couple of hours off, enjoy it with the people you’re with, our family is their family.” 

So make sure to book your tickets to avoid disappointment, as this is one you don’t want to miss out on!