WITH the Lighthouse arts centre in Poole now well and truly open after its £5.3 million refurbishment, it’s time to meet the stars of this year’s magical pantomime, Aladdin.

Led by actor and former Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan (who writes the panto, produces it with Lighthouse and directs and stars as Abanazar), the cast features Waterloo Road’s Max Bowden (Aladdin), Sapphire Elia from Emmerdale as the Princess, panto dame Adam Price as the colourful and flamboyant Widow Twankey, Miguel Angel as a rock-god inspired Genie and Laura Curnick.

Peter says: “I think everybody at Lighthouse seems to be enjoying the transition to something new and that includes us. We’re new co-producers for Lighthouse and the company is a new group of people and we’re all getting along really well. Ironically Aladdin is traditionally done at a new theatre or when there’s a new production company. It’s meant to be good fortune for some strange theatrical reason and every time I’ve gone somewhere new I’ve done Aladdin first.”

Max Bowden, playing Aladdin adds: “It’s important to have a reciprocal relationship between artists and theatres, to look after artists and I know Lighthouse does that really well. You do feel part of the family at Lighthouse and you’re made to feel so welcome here. Peter and I had a great time when we were here with Birdsong, this was one of my favourite venues. The audience is great and the way the theatre is laid out, there isn’t a bad seat, which is so rare in new-build theatres.”

Aladdin enjoys a five-week run at Lighthouse from Wednesday, December 7 to Sunday, January 8.

n For tickets contact 01202 280000 or lighthousepoole.co.uk