ANNE Charleston is swapping Ramsay Street for Fareham as the former Neighbours star makes her first performance in the area in Ferneham Hall’s Christmas pantomime.
Playing the role of the fairy godmother, she will star alongside Ben Redfern, Carly Thomas, Richard Pocock and Mark Siney in the theatre’s production of Cinderella, which follows on from last year’s successful Beauty and The Beast.
Starring in this, her 23rd pantomime since 1988, Anne says: ‘I’ve been in Cinderella a couple of times in the past and it’s always a lot of fun, although one year I would love to play a wicked queen.
‘I’ve been to Poole and Bournemouth before but never Fareham, and I’m looking forward to being by the sea again.’
Anne starred in the Australian soap, Neighbours, as Madge Mitchell from 1986 until 1992, before returning in 1996 until 2001. Now based in Ireland, she has starred on the TV screen here too, in Emmerdale.
She says: ‘Neighbours was so popular here. It was a long time ago but it opened a lot of doors for me.’
The TV star is currently on tour in Ireland with a production of Steel Magnolias, and stars alongside Mischa Barton.
Although known for her TV work, she has always loved working in theatre.
Anne said: ‘I think it’s brilliant to have direct contact with the audience. I love the reaction of the children. It’s so wonderful that they know exactly what to say and when to say it.’
Actor Richard Pocock, who plays one of the Ugly Sisters, is returning to his roots as he grew up in the area.
He attended St Jude’s School in Southsea and Portsmouth Technical College, and was part of the Portsmouth Players and the Southsea Shakespeare Actors.
He said: ‘I left in 1976 but it’s very nice to be back. I’m really looking forward to being close to the sea again. Living in London is great, but I do really miss it.
‘To be honest, I might eventually come back to live here again.’
Having performed at the Kings Theatre in the past, it’s his first time back to perform in years.
Richard added: ‘It’s fantastic to be back and I can’t wait to have a look around everywhere.’
Tickets cost £17 for adults and £15.75 for over 60s and children.
Call (01329) 231942 or go to fernehamhall.co.uk for details.