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Liverpool Empire have announced that Shirley Ballas, who hit the screens last year as Head Judge on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, will make her pantomime debut and lead the cast of this year’s Giant of a spectacular family pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, joined by hilarious funny man John Evans as Simple Simon from Friday 14th December.

Having danced since the age of seven, Shirley has taken the dancing world by storm. She is three time ‘British Open to the World’ Latin American Champion, ten-time US Latin American Champion, and multiple-times British National Champion.  By 21, Shirley had won nearly every major title she competed in worldwide. She is the only person to have ever won the ‘British Open to the World’ Latin American Championships in Blackpool with two different partners and reached the finals an impressive 17 times. Shirley still remains the youngest ever female to reach the ‘British Open to the World’ Dance Championship finals.

Since hanging up her competition heels twenty years ago, Shirley has gone on to forge a hugely successful career as one of the top Ballroom and Latin teachers and adjudicators in the world. She appeared on the hit series Dancing With The Stars (the US version of Strictly), where she gave masterclasses and commentary on the shows. Last year it was announced that Shirley would bring her immense expertise and experience to the judging panel of BBC’s primetime show Strictly Come Dancing as the newly appointed Head Judge. Shirley’s debut on the show was a huge hit with the audiences, and people commended her encouraging feedback to the competing couples, and admired her extensive knowledge of dance.

The Wallasey-born ‘Queen of Latin’ will star as Mother Nature, and help Jack outwit the evil Giant and win fame, fortune and the hand of the girl he loves.

Joining her as Simple Simon will be John Evans, back for a second year after wowing audiences with his hilarious comedy in last year’s pantomime, Cinderella. John’s clever comedy has taken him across the world, entertaining the British Forces on a number of occasions, as well as becoming a firm favourite with the world’s major cruise lines.

Jack and the Beanstalk will be staged by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s biggest pantomime producer, and the company behind last year’s glittering production of Cinderella, in another production packed full of sensational dance, laugh out loud comedy, special effects, audience participation and outstanding entertainment for theatregoers of all ages.

Michael Harrison, managing director of Qdos Entertainment’s pantomime division said: “I’m thrilled that we have managed to tempt Shirley out from behind the Strictly judging desk to show Liverpool audiences just why she’s considered one of the world’s finest dancers. Along with John’s hilarious routines they’ll be leading the company of a fantastic show that will entertain Empire audiences for another fantastic festive season.”

The Liverpool Empire’s Theatre Director, Diane Belding said, “After delivering the most spectacular pantomime in Liverpool last year, we are thrilled that Qdos Entertainment are returning to the Empire again for 2018’s Panto season. Strictly Come Dancing is one of the most popular programmes on television so who better to star in Liverpool’s best pantomime than judge, Shirley Ballas. I’m sure Empire audiences will be as excited as we are to see Shirley returning home to Merseyside and performing live on the Empire stage. John Evans was a firm favourite last year so we’re thrilled he’s returning. He and Shirley are sure to deliver a performance that’s a 10!”

Don’t miss your chance to see Jack and the Beanstalk; it’s the panto title audiences have bean waiting for!

Performance Information

Jack and the Beanstalk
Liverpool Empire Theatre
Friday 14th December 2018 – Sunday 6th January 2019
See atgtickets.com/Liverpool for performance times
Tickets from £11