Actress Ann Micklethwaite from Clayton West enjoys being cast as the Fairy Godmother in the annual professional panto at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax. But this year she’s hoping to avoid being IN a cast.

Last year Ann appeared on stage in Jack and the Beanstalk sporting a plaster cast on her left arm – the result of falling on ice on the opening night.

She explained: “After the evening show I had just gone out to move my car closer to the theatre – we were having a little party – and I slipped on some black ice and shattered my elbow in four places.”

Following an operation to pin the bones in her elbow Ann missed the whole of the first week of the panto. However, in keeping with show business tradition she was back on stage for the rest of the season.

“Fortunately,” she says, “it was not my wand arm and they ‘blinged’ up the pot so it looked the part. I got a lot of jokes at my expense. I have been told that I am being wrapped in bubble wrap this year.”

As a young mum – she has two daughters, Iris, almost three, and Imogen,10 – Ann says the injury also caused problems at home.

“My youngest was still in nappies so my husband John had to take time off work. And then once the panto was over I was out of work for a few months afterwards. I still have wire in my arm.”

This year she’s starring in Cinderella and looking forward once again to being part of the panto magic.

“It’s great fun,” she says, “but I think that next year I would like to play a baddie, perhaps an evil queen. They have even more fun. The thing about panto is that its more of a man’s domain – there’s the dame and the comics, which are always played by men – and the lead roles are always taken by young women. There’s not much left for older women, just the fairy godmother or evil queen.”

Ann, 43, was a theatre actress in both West End and touring productions before having her family. She is married to international and corporate magician John Danbury.

They moved from London back to Ann’s home town to give their girls a Yorkshire upbringing and be close to her parents, Roy and Freda Micklethwaite, who also live in Clayton West.

When not in panto, Ann works for companies who supply role playing actors for medical training purposes, but this year she has also made a return to the stage in a Michael Frayn play, which was part of the Halifax Comedy Festival.

As usual, Christmas will be a hectic time in Ann’s household, with John booked for magic events up and down the country and the panto season in full swing.

“We’ll be doing a lot of juggling between us,” she says.

However, Christmas Eve promises to be magical, with the whole family at the Victoria Theatre watching Ann making wishes come true.

Cinderella also features Halifax actor and singer Neil Hurst, another panto regular, as Buttons, and Carly Burns in the title role.

The panto runs until Sunday, January 3.

Ticket details from or 01422 351158.