Little Theatre director Debbie Thompson really does have a knack for pulling the liveliest of white rabbits out of the pantomime bag. Last year it was acquiring the rights to the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith’s version of Dick Whittington. For 2012, with considerable help from her 14 year-old daughter Katie, it’s Jack and the Beanstalk, written and to be directed by Phantom of the Opera star Killian Donnelly.

Katie is a student at Sheringham High School, wants to become a professional performer and loves musical theatre. Donnelly, who plays Raoul in Phantom, also writes pantomime scripts, comedy sketches and songs – as Katie discovered through following him on Twitter. “I couldn’t believe it when he replied – I spent several minutes running around squealing!”, she explains.

Her mother concurs. “I really didn’t think Katie’s suggestion would come to anything and, when we had no reply from his agent, I did say she should forget the idea. But Katie really believed that Killian would be perfect for Sheringham – and she was right! His script is really funny. I am very impressed with the way he has managed to keep the traditional fairytale while also bringing in some modern twists” .

Donnelly agrees; “I am very excited to be writing for Sheringham Little Theatre and am looking forward to seeing just how well an Irishman can make people in Norfolk laugh.” The production opens at the Little Theatre on Wednesday 5 December and runs until Saturday 5 January.