Actors and dancers get an insight into the world of theatre from panto star

Talented young actors and dancers at Warrington & Vale Royal College have been given a first-hand insight into the world of pantomime ahead of their performance of Dick Whittington this festive season, thanks to a visit from panto regular Tom Lee.

Actor and performer Tom visited the college on Thursday to speak to performing arts students about their upcoming performance of Dick Whittington, which tells the tale of a poor orphan boy and his journey to London in search of fame and fortune.

Students at the college will put their own take on the panto, mixing both traditional and modern elements to create their own unique performance.

The visit from panto extraordinaire Tom – who has played the role of the Dame in Dick Whittington on the stage – gave students the chance to find out more about the importance of technique and character development in such an interactive performance.

Tom, who also appeared on Britain’s Got Talent as drag artist Ruby Murry, will be taking to the stage again this Christmas at the Liverpool Echo Arena when he plays Widow Twankey in Aladdin.

Level 3 acting student Chloe O’Neill, who will play the principal role in this year’s college pantomime – performed at both the college’s Warrington and Hartford Campuses – described Tom’s visit as a great opportunity for students.

The former Hope Academy pupil said: “I really enjoyed learning the techniques from Tom. This session will really help me to be able to get more out of myself, and the character, to put into my performance.”

Fellow actor Ally Kendall, who will take to the stage as Alice, added: “It’s fantastic for us as students to have someone from industry come in and talk to us about their experiences and give us tips on how to improve. We are really lucky to have people like Tom coming in to speak to us on a regular basis.”

As well as giving students an insight into the world of panto, Tom also worked with students on their choreography and singing.

Speaking about the importance of performing arts courses, Tom said: “I trained at a college and it set me up for a lifelong career in performing and everything related to it. You get some of the best years of life when you are training in performing arts. It’s a chance to learn more about your talents and how to develop them, whilst also giving you the best opportunities moving forward.

Tom’s visit was made possible thanks to the college’s industry links.

Rachel Butt, Teaching & Learning Manager and performing arts tutor, said: “We are really grateful to Tom for taking the time out of his busy schedule to visit us today and to share his industry experience with our young actors and dancers.

“Our students are extremely lucky at Warrington & Vale Royal College to benefit from visits from industry experts like Tom, which is down to our fantastic links with industry. Being able to find out how Tom takes his character and develops it to make it more engaging will massively help our students with their own performances this year.”

Performances of Dick Whittington take place at the Warrington Campus on Monday 11th December and Tuesday 12th December, and at the Hartford Campus from Thursday 14th December to Saturday 16th December. Tickets are available to purchase by emailing

To find out more about the fantastic opportunities available at Warrington & Vale Royal College, check out courses.