Mission’s Opening Nite Theatre Society (ONTS) is presenting its annual Christmas panto. This year the group tackles the tale of the Empress’s New Clothes. / Submitted Photo

Annual Christmas panto returns to Mission stage

Opening Nite Theatre presents the Empress’s New Clothes

For the 13th year, Mission’s Opening Nite Theatre Society (ONTS) brings their family favourite, the panto, back to the stage.

This year the panto is The Empress’s New Clothes. It’s the story of a fashion-forward monarch who gets a little too hung up on keeping ahead of the trends.

Fairy Nice and Fairy Naughty (played by Jennie Bice and Camille Atebe, both doing double duty as musical director and director) are back yet again, battling it out over the fate of the characters.

A traditional panto takes a well-known fairy tale and adds music, cross-dressing, audience participation and lots of silliness. ONTS’ Atebe has been writing original pantos based on this premise, but with a uniquely Mission twist.

Many Mission families have been attending since their children were little and consider it a Christmas tradition. It’s a family-friendly show, with room up in front of the stage for kids to sit so that they get the best view.

This year the panto stars Michael Stusiak, who has appeared in a couple of ONTS shows before and pantos with other theatre groups, but his turn as the Empress is his first ONTS panto. Newcomers Jayden Smith and Bailey Malchy are the Empress’s ladies in waiting, and returning to the ONTS stage are Tammy Chrest, Trevor Crosby, Jordan Wood, Sofya Bice, Trudy-Bridgette Smith and Petra Atebe.

The Empress’s New Clothes opens Saturday, Dec. 14. The show runs until Dec. 22, then again from Jan 3-12. Tickets and info can be found at openingnitetheatre.com.

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