She’s behind moo - Real live Buttercup joins cast of Hackney Empire panto

Hackney Empire will not be cowed as Clive Rowe returns for Jack and the Beanstalk

A PANTOMIME cow is not a rare sight on the Hackney Empire stage but dress-up Daisy moo’ved over when her bona fide cousin, Buttercup, took her turn to tread the boards.

The special guest joined stars of the theatre’s Christmas show, Jack and the Beanstalk, as they launched this year’s panto on Monday (October 18). The two-year-old Galloway breed met Hackney’s darling dame, Clive Rowe, along with Avenue Q star Jaygann Ayeh, who will play Jack, and Wicked’s Chloe Taylor in the role of Off-Her-Trolley Molly.

They were celebrating the return of the Empire’s Christmas cracker after one of the most difficult years in the Mare Street playhouse’s history. Temporary closure followed last year’s panto run after the theatre fell into the red – but bosses have worked to get it up and running again.

Demolition has started on the theatre’s former rehearsal rooms and offices in Wilton Way, and audiences across the country got a glimpse of the gold-and-red auditorium on Sky 1’s Must Be The Music TV talent show.

“It has been quite a year,” said creative director Susie McKenna. “We are building up slowly and now the machinery for the pantomime is coming into gear.”

Clive Rowe will make his ninth appearance as the Empire’s pantomime dame when the curtain rises on Thursday, December 2.

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“It is a really good thing that we have the chance to bring the theatre back on to its feet. It is amazing to be part of something which is in many ways so frivolous, but also so important.”

The udderly ridiculous show also stars Tony Whittle, Kat B and Sharon D Clarke as the voice of the golden harp. Pantomime jokes will, of course, follow – but, for now, we butter resist.

Jack and the Beanstalk will run until January 9, with previews starting on November 27. Tickets are �9.50-�24.50. Visit or call 020 8985 2424.