ONE cast member of Jack & The Beanstalk at Grove Park Theatre has made a GIANT leap to ensure the pantomime can be enjoyed by everybody.

Keira James plays environmentally-friendly Fairy Dale who narrates the show which runs from December 7 to January 6 and delivers her lines via British Sign Language (BSL).

While many stage productions have one or two performances with simultaneous BSL translation this is one of the rare pantomimes to incorporate a signing character into every single show.

Keira, a learning support assistant, already reads braille as part of her work with visually-impaired pupils and planned to learn some BSL to assist deaf and hearing impaired people.

So when director Gemma Richards asked her if she’d be prepared to sign her dialogue she jumped at the chance.

Keira said: “I wanted to take on the challenge because I support people with sensory additional learning needs at St Joseph's Catholic & Anglican High School and I think that accessibility for all should be part of everyday life”

Gemma said a Wrexham sign language choir gave her the idea.

She said: “I saw a performance of the Signing Sensations and was inspired to include sign in last year’s panto - Cinderella. 

"The response was overwhelming and I know it had a significant impact on a number of our audience members. I wanted to expand upon this for Jack & The Beanstalk as inclusivity is something I’m very passionate about.”

As well as remembering lines, songs and dances with her fellow cast members Keira also had just two months to learn all her dialogue in BSL.

She added: “The hardest part has been to sign and speak at the same time, sometimes the words and signs don't completely sync up. But I've also found it really hard to just use my face and voice to act - because my hands are occupied!”

The programme for Jack & The Beanstalk also includes Fairy Dale’s guide on how to sign each character’s name.


Grove Park Theatre continues to charm audiences with its annual family pantomimes which have been running for more than 40 years.

This year sees the return of the ever-popular Jack & The Beanstalk which sees young Jack Trott hoping to save his farm, family and fiancee from a hungry Giant and scheming baddie Fleshcreep.

With Fairy Dale on hand for some magical assistance all the signs are that it’s going to be a fun adventure for everyone.