Alban Arena launches Aladdin as this year’s panto

FLYING carpets and magic lamps are just some of the treats in store in this year’s pantomime at the Alban Arena.

A star-studded cast will take to the stage this Christmas to perform in Aladdin, which runs from December 14 to January 6, 2013, in St Albans.

And this year former EastEnders and Extras actor Shaun Williamson is lining up to join the team to play the evil Abanazar who pretends to be Aladdin’s uncle.

Shaun, who is best-known for playing Barry Evans in the BBC television soap, will be making his eleventh pantomime appearance.

He said: “This is the third time I have played the part. I think at first it is like I am being Barry playing nasty but as soon as it unfolds I am making a clown out of myself.

The actor added: “I love this part and it is so well written. We have flying carpets and an incredibly funny dame.”

CBeebies’ Mister Maker star Phil Gallagher is set to play the lead role as Aladdin. This is his second time appearing in a pantomime at the Alban Arena following the success of last year’s Snow White.

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Phil said: “I am really excited to be back. I have been in panto for eight years but Aladdin is my favourite because I get to fly on a magic carpet.

“The audience can expect high quality family entertainment which is what panto is all about. It is full of action and it is a great story.”

He added: “Panto is quite often the first time our younger audience members may walk into a theatre so hopefully we will inspire a younger generation of theatre goers.

“Last year we had a really great show and lots of people came back to see it again and again.”

The script is written by Paul Hendy and is being co-directed by Bob Golding who promises the pantomime is going to be full of slapstick comedy.

Bob, who lives in St Albans and also starred in Snow White, is also performing in Aladdin as Pc Pongo and said: “When you have a cast that are up for a laugh and are good sports then you are going to have fun.

“You should have something there for the kids and for the parents. There is a touch of Carry On which goes over the kids heads and lands in the laps on the parents.”

Tickets for Aladdin start at �16.50 for adults and �14 for concessions. To book tickets call 01727 844488 or visit