AN amateur dramatic society is returning to the stage for the first time in five years.

Cradley Village Players are bringing back the village pantomime at from Thursday, February 23 to Saturday, February 25.

They’ll be performing Beauty and the Beast, written by award-winning author and filmmaker Brian Luff and directed by Cradley Village Players newcomer Jane MacFarlane.

Born in Hereford, Jane has moved to Cradley after a varied career as a singer and actor and as a director of professional and amateur shows with an emphasis on music.

“We’re excited to be staging Beauty and the Beast in partnership with Cradley School as six talented children join new and familiar faces on stage as a contingent of fairies and moles,” said a spokesperson.

“Lucy Harding is the heroine Beauty and Jane MacFarlane the Beast (aka Leopold the prince).  Tom Van Vuren plays Dame Peekaboo - a cook with outrageous costumes and a sheep (Pam Moss) for a friend. 

“Jill Salmons and Cressida Dunnett are Beauty’s ugly(ish) sisters and every panto needs wicked and good fairies (Judi Creed-Newton and Poppy Stanley) to slug it out in the cause of good and evil.

“Beauty’s father Tom Goodenough is played by James Sommerville; hapless aristocrats Bertie Piddle-Hinton and Aubrey Huffington are Russ Shalofsky and David Creed-Newton while Meg Monk plays Bernard, the Beast’s Butler, Sandra Dudley is Mrs Pickles, his servant, and Gracie Creed-Newton his housekeeper Chives.”

With expert support from music director Wynne Harries, the cast are rehearsing lots of familiar songs including Zip-a-dee-dooh-dah, You Can’t Stop the Beat, I am a Mole and I live in a Hole, Bring me Sunshine and It’s a Kind of Magic.

Beauty and the Beast is at Cradley CE Primary School on February 23 and 24 at 7.30pm, with a matinee performance especially for younger families at 2.30pm on Saturday, February 25. 

Adult tickets cost £8 and for children aged 12 and under are £4. They can be bought from Cradley Village Stores in Bosbury Road using cash or cheques or online from