Opera House panto star excited to be back in Buxton for Christmas

Buxton has “the most beautiful theatre in the whole country,” says one of the stars in this year’s panto.

By Lucy Ball
Friday, 17th September 2021, 12:07 pm

Matthew Jay Ryan is no stranger to the town, having previously appeared in Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Dick Whittington at Buxton Opera House. Now he is preparing to return for a fourth time to take on the role of Wishy-Washy in Aladdin.

The 28-year-old, who also provides the voice for Ryder in Paw Patrol, said: “Buxton is a massive part of my life as I’ve been here so many times now.

"It has the most beautiful theatre in the whole country and I love performing here. Who doesn’t love Buxton at Christmas?”

Matthew Jay Ryan will be returning to Buxton Opera House to play Wishy-Washy in this year's panto Aladdin. Pictured on stage in Snow White a previous panto at the Opera House.

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Matthew said that when it comes to performing in Buxton, all the cast must stay in the centre of town in case there is bad weather so the show can still go on.

He said: "All my family come up from London and we spend time together up here and it’s just great and I’m really excited to be back again.”

Matthew, like most actors, was unable to work when the pandemic first began as theatres were all shut.

Dress rehearsal

He was actually in China touring with Paw Patrol when Covid started but luckily was able to return home to the UK.

"It was mad,” he said. “Shows and performances were being cancelled one after another. It was a really tough time.”

However, Matthew is also the co-founder of a youth theatre school and was able to continue to work, albeit remotely, with his students from SceneUK.

Now social restrictions have ended he says it is great to get back to performing.

Matthew Jay Ryan will star as Wishy-Washy in Aladdin at Buxton Opera House

"My first show after lockdown was outside in pouring rain but people still turned up and had a great time.

"Kids up and down the country have missed out on loads because of the pandemic from seeing their mates in school to after school clubs so it’s really nice to be getting back to some kind of normality again.

"I think that’s why panto is so important, it’s something families do together every year. It becomes a bit of a tradition and people just have fun.”

Aladdin will run from Saturday December 11 to Saturday January 1 2022. For tickets call 01298 72190 or visit https://buxtonoperahouse.org.uk/event/aladdin.

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