THE word is out, The Riverfront Theatre has announced cast members for its 2023 pantomime, Beauty and the Beast.

The Newport venue hosts a spectacular and popular pantomime every year, and audiences will be pleased to hear that Richard Elis, a real Newport favourite, is back again for another year.

Richard has been performing in The Riverfront’s panto for many years and in recent years has played the role of the much-loved comic. This year he will be playing Mickey, the son of Dame Muggins and the best friend of Rose.

Richard is a Welsh actor who has worked all over the world in both Welsh and English language.

He has a wealth of experience in film, TV, theatre, adverts and radio including Coronation Street and EastEnders.

South Wales Argus: Beauty and the Beast is coming to Newport

More recently Richard has hosted a podcast with close friend and on-stage enemy Aled Pugh, who is also appearing in Beauty and the Beast.

The podcast called Cuppa Tea Is It? has had guest speakers including journalist Vivien Parry, Football Association of Wales chief executive Noel Mooney and Welsh bass-baritone opera singer, Bryn Terfel.

Aled Pugh was new to the Riverfront last year but is back playing evil Mayor Murgatroid in this year’s pantomime.

Aled studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and has many theatre and TV credits, including his well-known Welsh character Bobby in the series Stella, created by Ruth Jones.

Gareth Tempest is also back in Newport for Christmas and like last year, he’s back as the Dame.

The newport-born actor has been performing at The Riverfront for many years, from appearing in the young company as a child to Prince Charming as a young adult.

Another familiar face from last year is Phoebe Holmes, who audience members would have known as Little Joan in Robin Hood. This year, the Wrexham-born actor will play the evil witch Hecate; her first time playing a ‘panto baddie’.

There are also a number of new faces in the luine up.

From performing in The Riverfront’s recent co-production Bitcoin Boi, Alex Parry will take the role of Rose’s Dad and gamekeeper of the castle grounds Hedwin.

Londiwe Mthembu is looking forward to making her panto debut as Fairygoodheart.

And Newport-born Elian West is excited to be performing in her hometown for the first time since she trained.

She is taking on the role of Rose.

But who is going to be the Beast? The Riverfront Theatre have told us to "stay tuned".

Beauty and the Beast opens on November 29, 2023, and will run until January 6, 2024.

Tickets are now on sale. Contact the box office on 01633 656757.