Hackney Empire has announced Dick Whittington and His Cat for its 2019 pantomime production which will sail into London in November, marking a record 21st pantomime from Hackney Empire stalwarts, writer and director Susie McKenna and composer Steven Edis.

Last staged in 2012, the classic tale receives a brand new, magical adaptation when it returns to the East End venue this Christmas. Dick Whittington and His Cat will run from Saturday, November 23, to Sunday, January 5.

In true Hackney Empire style, Dick Whittington and His Cat will once again bring all the magic and spectacle audiences have come to love and expect to get the festive season underway, in a sparkling reimagining of the Dick Whittington story.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

In Jamaica, young ‘Dickens’ Whittington is boarding the Empire Windrush, chasing the dream of a new life and seeking to make his fortune in the gold-paved streets of glorious London. Little does he know, magic awaits him and his enchanted feline friend far across the ocean. He’ll embark on the adventure of a lifetime: reuniting with his mum, fighting rodent royalty, meeting an eccentric fairy and winning the heart of his true love – all whilst trying to find fame and fortune.

A dazzling Hackney-style reimagining of this classic rags-to-riches tale, bursting with laugh-out-loud topical gags, knockabout comedy, show-stopping song and dance numbers, the most boo-able baddies and enough festive cheer to fuel a ship half round the world.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Tarinn Callender, who made his West End debut with the original London cast of Hamilton playing Hercules Mulligan and James Madison, will mark his first Hackney panto in the title role of Dick Whittington. The production will also welcome debut panto appearances from Annette McLaughlin (Harry Potter and The Cursed Child) as Queen Rat, Christina Tedders (Once The Musical) as Alice Fitzwarren, and Sue Kelvin (Caroline, Or Change) as Fairy Bowbells. They will star alongside Hackney stalwarts Grand Dame Clive Rowe who marks a thirteenth panto appearance this year starring as Sarah the Cook, the loveable Kat B as Vincent, the Cat and the ever trusty Tony Whittle as Alderman Fitzwarren.

Susie McKenna, writer and director, said: “This is our 21st year and we are taking inspiration from the story of our 15th century hero Richard Whittington, and celebrating the courage and determination of our 20th century heroes – the Windrush Generation. The story represents a journey full of hopes and dreams, it’s a tribute to my own extended family as well as our local community. As always, our show will have all the ingredients of a traditional pantomime, sprinkled with surprises galore in true Hackney panto style.”

Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, E8 1EJ, Saturday, November 23, to Sunday, January 5. Details: 02089 852424 hackneyempire.co.uk