The countdown to the pantomime season has begun and next week Dick Whittington strides into Newport Riverfront to begin a month long festive run.

“It looks like its going to be a good fun script and hopefully one audiences are going to enjoy,” says Newport born actor Gareth Tempest who takes on the role of Dick Whittington and has recently toured in a production of Macbeth.

Dick Whittington sees Gareth’s acting career coming full circle. He appeared in Hiss and Boo’s first pantomime production at the Riverfront in 2005 which was also Dick Whittington as an extra. “It has its gone completely right around,” he says, “I remember been shouted at a lot by one of the managers. Me and my friend were two little tykes really. I’ve got some really fond memories including going on stage in very see-through tights, because I’d bought the wrong ones. The first time I ever held a girls hand was in that show. We were dressed up as rats and we had a big rat tale fight and we smashed a load of light bulbs.”

Gareth had previously been involved with Newport’s New Venture Players prior to his role in Aladdin. “I’d done a few shows with them and it was actually my friend who said he was going to go to this audition. I went with him; it was a really fun experience. I remember turning to one of the actors in the wings one day because even then I knew I wanted to be an actor. I said “How do you be an actor?” he said “you just work really hard!” I went “Right okay!”.

“I finished High School and got very lucky by getting into the Bristol Old Vic theatre school where I trained. My first job was at the Sherman Theatre in “It’s a Family Affair, We'll Settle it Ourselves.””

Gareth performed alongside panto favourite Lee Mengo in It’s A Family Affair and will be reunited with him on stage in Dick Whittington. “I'm really excited because I’ve heard really good things and I'm excited to work with Lee again. “

Of course, Gareth is glad to be back on home turf, “I’ll be home for Christmas and of course I’m working so it’ll be great.”

Dick Whittington runs at Newport Riverfront from December 2 to January 4. Call 01633 656757 or visit for ticket details.