THE Georgian Theatre Royal has now been shortlisted for two awards in the equivalent of the UK pantomime ‘Oscars’.

This follows an announcement by the UK Pantomime Association that they have introduced a new category for ‘Best Early Career Newcomer’, ahead of their 2022 Annual Awards Ceremony to be held in London later this month.

Marcus Jones who played George Gaston in the Theatre’s festive production of Beauty and the Beast is one five actors to have been nominated for the award.

The Northern Echo: Marcus Jones as George GastonMarcus Jones as George Gaston

This announcement follows the publication of the main awards shortlist last month when the Georgian Theatre’s pantomime was also selected for Best Costume Design.

The awards will be announced on Tuesday, April 19 at the Trafalgar Theatre in London’s West End hosted by actor Christopher Biggins.

“To have been selected for just one award is absolutely fantastic but to have been nominated for two awards in the same year is a phenomenal achievement,” said Georgian Theatre Royal Manager and the pantomime’s writer and director, Clare Allen.

“Marcus who played a George Michael-style baddie – complete with shades, stubble and leather jacket – was one of a multi-talented cast of five who worked so well together to bring the much-loved fairytale to life. We may only have a small cast compared to some of the bigger pantomimes but each person is very carefully selected and they always give 110 per cent to making the Georgian’s production such an amazing family show.

“We are all absolutely thrilled for Marcus and will be cheering him on at the awards,” she added.

The role of Gaston in Beauty and the Beast was Marcus’s first paid professional stage debut and audiences were mesmerised by his performance as the deliciously egotistical, power-hungry district councillor bad guy.

Marcus is skilled in both acting and music and holds a degree in music from Royal Holloway, University of London and trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Whilst at Mountview, he played Benjy Stone in My Favourite Year and took part in a touring production of Cinderella for schools.

"I loved playing Gaston," said Marcus. "I first played the role aged 12 at a drama camp and never dreamed that I would get to play the part again in a professional production. It is like coming around full circle. I really hope to be able to tread the boards at Richmond again in the future. It is the perfect venue for pantomime."

The UK Pantomime Association fronts this much-loved dramatic art form and over the Christmas period, 46 of its judges attended 207 pantomimes across England, Scotland and Wales to find the very best in festive entertainment.

The Georgian Theatre Royal has been producing its own professional pantomimes since 2010 and in that time has built up a reputation for staging one of the best Christmas shows around. Sleeping Beauty was chosen by The Observer as one of its top festive shows of 2018, and in 2015, The Telegraph named the Theatre as the No.1 place to see a pantomime in the UK.

Tickets are now on sale for this year’s pantomime, Pinocchio, which runs from Friday 2 December 2022 until Sunday 8 January 2023. Please visit www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk for online bookings or call the Box Office on 01748 825252.

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