The Wycombe Swan is getting into the Christmas spirit with the launch of this year’s pantomime, Dick Whittington next week.

The panto, which opens at the Wycombe Swan on December 13, follows Dick Whittington, played by actor and comedian Shane Richie, Alice Fitzwarren and the lovably Tommy the Cat on an enchanting pantomime adventure.

Starring Hollyoaks actress Kim Tiddy as the villainous Queen Rat, Malcolm Lord as Sarah the Cook and Nicola Weeks as Alice Fitzwarren, this year’s panto is set to be a spectacular family show.

Eastenders actor Shane Richie will be returning to the Wycombe Swan for the third time as he takes on the title role in this year’s show.

The award-winning actor is taking on the lead role as thrice Lord Mayor Dick Whittington, following his successful season as Buttons in Cinderella at the theatre last Christmas.

So what keeps the actor coming back? Shane said: “I love the audiences in Wycombe, there is a real sense that they come out to be entertained and have a good time. Each time I’ve worked in the town I’ve received such a warm welcome. Some years ago we got snowed in and the number of offers to stay with families in their spare rooms was amazing! In fact I think some of the cast did.

“I managed to get in a local hotel which turned out to be nice as it had a huge TV in the room, so I chilled until the next day’s shows!”

This year’s dazzling production will be brought to life with plenty of comedy, stunning sets, fabulous costumes and the magic and of course, the audience participation that both children and adults love about panto.

Shane said: “It’s going to be a spectacular family show, with lots of comedy. Dick Whittington was the first Lord Mayor of London, and there is a very magical (and funny!) story to tell.”

Writer and Director of Dick Whittington, Jon Conway, has worked with Shane before when they both created Boogie Nights – The 70s Musical in 1997.

Jon, who has written more than 100 pantomimes, is excited to be working with Shane again.

He said: “It’s going to be a fabulous big-budget show, with a first-rate cast. We’re delighted that Shane is returning to Wycombe Swan for another year, his comic timing makes him a master of pantomime, and he is so loved by audiences young and old.”

Shane admits the cast have been working non-stop for two weeks to get the show right in time for the launch next week.

“All rehearsals are full-on and hard work and a story is a story no matter what it is. It has to be rehearsed and staged for full effect on stage. The one thing with panto is that rehearsals are over a very short period, with just two weeks between the start of rehearsals and the first show, so there is a lot to get through in a short time.” And with so much to do on stage during the energetic performances, Shane admits it can be hard to keep energy levels high.

“It’s honestly really hard! However once I’m on stage and see the audience, the energy kicks in! There’s nothing like the combination of an audience and the energy of a big production to keep you going.”

The seasoned actor has played a range of different characters on stage, including Buttons in Cinderella, Danny in Grease and Ebenezer Scrooge in Scrooge the Musical, but reveals that he doesn’t have a favourite character.

“I can’t choose one as they are all terrific and have their own identities. However, I have never played Dick Whittington before so this is a first and I’m really looking forward to it. As I always say, the thrill of an audience is wonderful.

“Nothing can beat the live on-stage sensation.”

Dick Whittington opens at the Wycombe Swan on December 13 and runs until January 4. Tickets are priced between £19 and £30.50, with concessions and family offers available. Buy tickets at or by calling the Ticket Office on 01494 512 000.