BIG PANTO NEWS! David Phipps-Davis is confirmed to return to pantoland at Stafford Gatehouse this year as Dame Trott in the GIANT family pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk from 06 Dec 2024 – 05 Jan 2025. He joins the previously announced Theo the Mouse and Wendy and Wink Taylor for the magical family treat.

David is thrilled to be back in Stafford for a second year having had such fun last year as Madeleine Marzipan in Beauty and the Beast. This is David’s thirtieth panto, but only the third time he’s done Jack and the Beanstalk. Other titles include Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Mother Goose, Peter Pan, Dick Whittington, Robin Hood, Goldilocks, Cinderella and Aladdin!  As well as appearing in panto, David also writes and directs them! As a director David has staged over fifty productions of plays, musicals, pantomimes, operettas and operas.

Alongside his career in panto David has starred on many shows including Oliver! and The Phantom of the Opera. On his role in La Traviata David was described as being “like a demented Dame Hilda Bracket!”

He says of returning to Stafford this Christmas “I had such a great time in Stafford last year, the venue was lovely and the audiences amazing, so I’m absolutely thrilled to back this year to appear in my favourite panto ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’. Look forward to even bigger songs and slosh, and a silly old cow – and I don’t mean me!”

The Trotts are so poor they don’t have a bean to their name, and what is more there is a giant terrifying the village. Come and see if Jack can defeat the giant, win the heart of the girl he loves and turn the Trotts’ fortunes around in this hilarious family pantomime.

Book YOUR tickets to this enchanting family pantomime today and watch this space for more casting news!


University joins panto team

Staffordshire University has raised the curtain on an exciting new educational initiative with Stafford’s Gatehouse Theatre.

The University, which this year launched the UK’s first degree dedicated to the art of pantomime, is to sponsor the Gatehouse pantomime Cinderella which runs from Friday 9 December – Saturday 31 December.

Directed by Richard Cheshire – Course Leader for the MA Contemporary Pantomime Practice and MA Collaborative Theatre Practice – Cinderella is expected to attract more than 18,000 visitors to the county town over the festive period.

Staffordshire University Vice-Chancellor Professor Martin Jones said: “We’re delighted to have this opportunity to connect with families and theatre-goers over this year’s pantomime.

“We have invested nearly £50m into our two Staffordshire campuses this year alone, using next generation teaching and facilities to inspire and nurture the talent of the region. Arts and culture have an important part to play in enriching the lives of people living in our communities and we want to play a starring role.”

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre Manager Gary Stevens added: “We are delighted to be partnering with Staffordshire University for this year’s Cinderella pantomime. The University plays a big role in Stafford and its Masters course in Contemporary Pantomime Practice is an example of the innovation that makes Staffordshire such a creative county.

“We hope as many people as possible will join us for a family visit to the theatre for a panto that has something for everyone – oh yes it does!’

Staffordshire University’s Blackheath Lane campus in Stafford is currently the study base for more than 2,000 student nurses, midwives, operating department practitioners and paramedics.

Featuring the most advanced health simulation technology, the Centre for Health Innovation has benefited from £5.8 investment from the government’s Getting Building Fund and offers a series of flexible and immersive simulation spaces designed to enhance clinical competency and the learning experience for students.

Professor Jones added: “Our new sector-leading facilities in Stafford will help drive the digital health agenda and accelerate the transformation of the health workforce using immersive technology and advanced teaching. We’re also delighted that the Centre will play a key role in supporting start-ups and SMEs through the facilities, expertise and support we have to offer, driving new innovations and promoting new product development and research.”

Staffordshire University will also use the Gatehouse sponsorship opportunity to promote its courses across a broad range of subject areas including Business, Computing, Criminology, Law, Psychology and Sport and Exercise. Campus tours and subject showcases are taking place at Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent throughout December and January.

For Cinderella tickets and information click here


Gary takes the helm

We are delighted to announce that Gary Stevens has been appointed as General Manager of the Gatehouse Theatre.

Gary, who was formerly Operations Manager, takes on the role with immediate effect.

He said: ‘I am delighted to have been appointed to lead the Gatehouse Theatre in Stafford as the new General Manager.

‘The Gatehouse has established itself as a creative force, and it is an honour to be entrusted to continue to build on this.

‘I will remain invested in the company’s continued success and look forward to seeing it continue to evolve and inspire audiences across the county of Staffordshire and beyond.’

Vastly experienced, Gary was previously General Manager and Operations Director of The Old Rep in Birmingham and also Head of Front of House at the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton, among other roles.

He replaces Tim Ford, who has left to pursue new opportunities and leaves with the best wishes of everyone at the Gatehouse and Freedom Leisure.

Blog News

Visiting Programme Call Out

The Gatehouse Theatre is doing an open call to find professional theatre companies, independent producers and individual performers around the UK and beyond who are touring professional shows in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

We’ve been open since 1982 so know a huge number of companies and our team regularly scouts new work. However we, of course, still miss finding out about some amazing shows until it’s too late.

If you’re a professional theatre company or an independent producer and you’d like us to find out more about your work then we’d love you to get in touch

Every year we programme hundreds of shows and events across a range of theatre spaces – from our front of house piano bar area for 50 people to shows for our 140 seat MET studio and our 535 seat main house theatre.

We’ve been open since 1982 so know a huge number of companies and our team regularly scouts new work. However, we of course still miss finding out about some amazing shows until it’s too late.

Our Venues

We have two venues that we’re mainly booking for; the main Gatehouse auditorium (535 seats) and The MET studio (140 seats).

Both have excellent sound and lighting facilities and generate fantastic atmospheres.

As an organisation we’re also interested in small-scale work that could tour and work in other spaces across the region.




Guidance Notes:

These notes are specific for this call out – we may do other calls in future for community companies, artists, actors, creatives or co-producing.

What we’re looking for…

 Work that is professionally touring

 Companies where everyone is paid at least Equity minimum

 Touring in 2023 and 2024

 Work that isn’t touring but might extend its run to tour to us

 New co-producing relationships

 All genres… Theatre, music, comedy, spoken word, Evenings With…, burlesque, dance, gig, jazz, family work, podcasts, talks and tribute acts.

What we’re not looking for…

 Unproduced scripts
 Shows currently with no attached creatives

Please send all submissions to Tim Ford C/o

Blog News


Stafford Gatehouse Theatre is delighted to announce AYA BENYAHYA will play CINDERELLA in this year’s spectacular Christmas pantomime.
Aya, a successful singer/songwriter who has featured on BBC Music Introducing will be making her Gatehouse debut in the pantomime, which runs from December 9-31.
She said: ‘I’m sooo looking forward to playing Cinderella at the Gatehouse this Christmas – it’s like a Fairy Godmother granted my wish! It’s a dream role, in an amazing theatre in a beautiful town that I’ve heard so many good things about.
‘I’ll be scrubbing up on my cleaning skills and polishing every pumpkin I can find to get ready for the panto. I can’t wait to meet everyone (even my Ugly Sisters!).
‘Hopefully as many people as possible will have a ball at the Gatehouse – we promise to have you back home by midnight!’
Theatre manager Tim Ford said: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to have Aya as our Cinderella in Stafford.
‘She has so much stage presence and charisma and we know audiences are going to love her – just like Prince Charming does.’ Producer Matt Brinkler said: ‘Aya just blew us away in her audition. It was one of those moments when we all just stood back, looked at each other and went ‘wow!’.
‘We are delighted to have snapped her up because she is going to be a big, BIG star and we cannot wait to introduce her to the people of Stafford.’
The Gatehouse is looking to set another new audience record with CINDERELLA and almost 4,000 tickets have already been snapped up.
Marketing Manager Keith Harrison said: ‘After everyone had such a great time with SNOW WHITE last year, people are buying their tickets earlier than ever. It may be August in sunny Stafford but Christmas will be on us before we know it, so don’t delay – book your tickets today.’
Contact the Box Office on 01785 619080 or book online here
Blog News

Welcome to the new-look Gatehouse website

Welcome to your new-look Stafford Gatehouse Theatre website. We hope you will find it easier to use and that you will enjoy new features such as video trailers, image galleries and more detailed descriptions of our brilliant shows. And, of course, it’s still just as easy to book a ticket (hint, hint). If you have any comments about the new look, please drop us a line to