Cambridge Arts Theatre panto star Rolan Bell wins 'Best Villain' at UK Pantomime Awards

Rolan Bell as Abanazar in Aladdin at Cambridge Arts Theatre.

Rolan Bell as Abanazar in Aladdin at Cambridge Arts Theatre. - Credit: Richard Hubert Smith

Cambridge Arts Theatre panto star Rolan Bell has won 'Best Villain' at The Pantomime Awards 2022.

Actor Rolan Bell played the evil Abanazar in the venue's 2021 production of Aladdin.

A theatre spokesperson said: "This was Cambridge Arts Theatre’s first nomination at The Pantomime Awards, so we’re truly thrilled that Rolan won after such a fantastic performance."

Rolan Bell accepting his award at the UK Pantomime Awards.

Rolan Bell accepting his award at the UK Pantomime Awards. - Credit: Ellie Hoskins, The UK Pantomime Association

Rolan collected the coveted UK Pantomime Association award at a star-studded ceremony hosted by Christopher Biggins at the Trafalgar Theatre in London on Tuesday, April 19.

Among those shortlisted for the Best Villain accolade in The Pantomime Awards in association with Butlin’s was Birds of a Feather star Lesley Joseph, who played the Wicked Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Bristol Hippodrome.

After collecting the award, Rolan Bell said: “I was so surprised about winning that my wife had to nudge me out of my seat – I’m still pinching myself now!

"The award is a humbling and very much appreciated accolade and a fantastic bonus on top of playing the baddie at Cambridge Arts Theatre.

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"I’ve always enjoyed working there, so now it feels like a home away from home.

"As a collective, we had a great time getting the show up and running.

"I absolutely loved playing Abanazar in a pantomime I was very proud of, so you may just find me sinking my teeth into a few more baddie roles in future!”

Prize winner Rolan Bell at the UK Pantomime Awards.

Prize winner Rolan Bell at the UK Pantomime Awards. - Credit: Ellie Hoskins, The UK Pantomime Association

Dave Murphy, chief executive at Cambridge Arts Theatre, said: “Everyone at Cambridge Arts Theatre is thrilled to see Rolan win ‘Best Villain’ at The Pantomime Awards.

"Over 22,000 adults and children just loved to hate our baddie Abanazar, so it’s fantastic to see Rolan be recognised for his brilliant performance.”

Rolan Bell graduated from The Drama Centre London in 2005 and first appeared at Cambridge Arts Theatre as Dandini in 2011’s Cinderella and Silly Billy in 2012’s Jack and the Beanstalk.

Since then, Bell has enjoyed a varied and successful acting career with television roles including Theo Kelly in EastEnders and Sergeant King (Kingy) in hit BBC One drama Our Girl opposite Michelle Keegan.

West End and theatre credits include We Will Rock You, Ragtime, Fela! at the National Theatre, and Delray in Memphis, which saw Bell receive a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

The UK Pantomime Association is an organisation formed to explore, share and celebrate pantomime.

During the 2021/2022 season, 46 judges saw 207 pantomimes across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Cambridge Arts Theatre’s 2022 pantomime will be announced soon, with tickets on sale for performances across December 2022 and January 2023.