Delroy will be Dame at this year’s Stratford panto

PUBLISHED: 10:42 27 November 2013 | UPDATED: 10:42 27 November 2013

Delroy Atkinson will be the Dame this year's panto,  Dick Whittington, at Theatre Royal Stratford East

Delroy Atkinson will be the Dame this year's panto, Dick Whittington, at Theatre Royal Stratford East


Just as pantomimes have become an essential part of Christmas, so Dames have become an intergral part of a successful production.

At many of the pantos staged by Theatre Royal Stratford East Michael Bertenshaw has donned the fake boobs, huge eyelashes and copious quantities of make-up, all applied liberally.

This year, although Michael will be appearing in Dick Whitiington as the formidable King Rat, he has passed the Dame’s baton to Delroy Atkinson who is relishing his first role. He does admit to having worn some strange things on stage though.

Delroy, who was born in Surrey in 1975, grew up “all over the place” as his father was a preacher.

He got into acting as a teenager at the behest of a teacher. Delroy said: “My A level drama tutor suggested I try out for National Youth Music Theatre and I got in. I ended up performing in Edinburgh, London and on Broadway before I was 20.

“Everyone in the show was talking about auditioning for drama school after, I thought ‘I’ll have some of that’ and started applying when I got back.”

Now, after playing at more than 100 theatres, Delroy will be Dame Shirley the cook, or as he calls her, Madam Shirley.

He said: “I’ve played more than 100 theatres and Theatre Royal Stratford East is always my favourite. The staff are great and there’s a warm atmosphere. It’s my favourite place to watch theatre as well, when I get the chance to be a punter.

I’ve also lived in Stratford for 5 years so it’s my local.”

Although new to the role of a Dame, Delroy is a familiar face at Theatre Royal Stratford East where he has appeared in Wah! Wah! Girls, The Harder They Come, Come Dancing and Pinocchio.

He has also appeared in Jerry Springer - The Opera at the National Theatre and on TV

This year’s panto will see the return of the creative team behind sell-out successes Cinderella (2011) and Red Riding Hood (2010). The fun, action packed story follows Dick Whittington’s adventure to Stratford, where he encounters Fairy Bow Bell and discovers if the streets really are paved with Olympic gold.

Rising star, Ashley Gerlach, will be playing the lead role of Dick Whittington continuing Theatre Royal Stratford East’s commitment to supporting new talent.

Dick Whittington will run at Theatre Royal Stratford East from November 23 to January 11 2014. Tickets start from £5.50 to £23.50, with concessions available on all performances. To book tickets call the Box Office on 020 8534 0310, visit or book in person at

Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford.

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