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The Courtyard Hereford ‘Beauty And The Beast’ Wins Best Director In UK Pantomime Awards

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The Courtyard team are delighted to announce that Estelle van Warmelo has won Best Director for Beauty and the Beast in the UK Pantomime Association’s Pantomime Awards 2023.

L-R: Ellis Kerkhoven, Estelle van Warmelo and Madeleine MacMahon with the Best Director award for Beauty and the Beast at the UK Pantomime Awards

Beauty and the Beast was nominated for two awards this year: Best Script (Lyndsay Maples) and Best Director (Estelle van Warmelo).

"What an honour it is to receive this award from the UK Pantomime Association!” says Estelle van Warmelo, “I'm enormously pleased for the whole Courtyard team who have worked tirelessly and devotedly on all the in-house productions since The Courtyard began.

Panto is difficult to get right, and every year we strive to improve, develop and bring freshness and quality to the show, a challenge our writer Lynday Maples tackles with aplomb alongside the rest of the creative team. I'm particularly grateful for the support Ellis Kerkhoven and Madi MacMahon have given me personally over the past two years. Bringing them into the directing department has helped us through an enormously difficult time while raising the bar on the integrity of the show. I'm delighted to acknowledge that this award reflects the strength of our department, not just a single person.

Huge thanks to the UK Pantomime Association, John Good Ltd for the award and to Ian Archer for letting me go wild every year. Having that artistic freedom is a rare gift from a producer so I'm grateful for his faith in me. Here’s to next year!”

The Courtyard prides itself on producing, writing, and directing its professional annual pantomimes in-house. Many members of the cast return to The Courtyard year after year and the seasoned writer and director have been working together on these productions for over 10 years.

The Pantomime Awards are the industry recognised awards for celebrating the best of this British theatrical institution. Judges are selected from a range of backgrounds for their knowledge and passion for pantomime. During the judging process, judges watch and mark the show based on a wide-ranging criteria covering all elements of the pantomime, for which they write a detailed commentary.

Following its’ best-selling year ever, The Courtyard’s pantomime for 2023/24 will be the classic tale of Dick Whittington. Spirited hero Dick and his feline friend pack up their handkerchief to embark on an epic adventure seeking fame and fortune. Their magical rags to riches tale will take audiences on an exciting journey to London Town… but will the streets be paved with gold?

As part of The Courtyard’s commitment to inclusivity, there will be a range of accessible performances including Relaxed, Dementia Friendly, BSL signed and Audio Described performances.

Tickets for Dick Whittington are on sale now and can be booked via Box Office in person, by calling 01432 340555 or online at courtyard.org.uk.

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