A FORMER Eastenders actor will star in Wrexham's first Easter pantomime - Beauty and the Beast.

Matt Lapinskas, who played Anthony Moon in the BBC soap, has been announced as the headline performer, as he will be starring as Gaston in the Easter pantomime at the Stiwt Theatre in Rhos.

The Stiwt's Easter pantomime, Beauty and the Beast, will run from Thursday, April 18 to Monday, April 22.

Matt, also of Dancing on Ice fame, follows in the footsteps of Tony Discipline - his onscreen brother in Eastenders - who also performed at the historic Wrexham theatre in the venue's festive pantomime in 2017, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

No stranger to the world of panto, Matt has starred in more than half a dozen pantomimes.

His most recent offering was Stevenage's production of Snow White, which ended in January, and is currently in the running for two major awards in the 2019 Great British Pantomime Awards.

Matt said he's looking forward to the rehearsals for Wrexham's Easter production getting underway.

He said: "I can't wait for rehearsals to get started and to meet my castmates. I feel like a bit of a panto veteran now, so I'm hoping audiences appreciate what I bring to North Wales.

"From speaking to my old on-screen brother, Tony (Discipline), he's told me I'm in for a real treat. He loved his run in Wrexham and the people and the places locally. I've never been to North Wales before, so I can't wait to perform and get to know the area a bit better."

Starring alongside Matt include leading lady Rebecca Roberts as Belle; Wrexham pantomime favourite Kyle Corrin as French Luis; and much-loved Wrexham performers, James Humphreys as the Beast; and Rob Stevens as Dame Dolly Doughnut.

The pantomime will be brought to Wrexham by Liverpool-based LHK Productions, who have produced the theatre's Christmas pantomime for the past decade.

Lee Kelly, managing director of LHK Productions, said: “I'm thrilled to announce Matt as our headline star in our first Easter pantomime. He's no stranger to pantomime and I know our loyal Wrexham audience will love him.

"As with our Christmas panto, Wrexham is in for a real treat. It's going to be a fantastic show.

Tickets can be purchased via www.stiwt.com or by calling 01978 841300.