Pantomime legend Mr Kaler announced today that this year’s production – The Grand Old Dame of York – at York’s Theatre Royal would be his last, bringing down the curtain on a remarkable career.
The 72 year-old made his pantomime debut at the theatre playing one of the ugly sisters in Cinderella back in 1977, since when the much-loved performer has become a feature of the city’s festive season.
Mr Kaler began writing the pantomime because he felt the scripts were not up to scratch, with the absence of a plot becoming one of the hallmarks of his work. He once quipped: “Plots are for cemeteries.”
The actor, who is stepping down for what he calls a “complex set of reasons”, said his relationship with audiences in York was a special one.
“It’s just become a unique part of their life and my life.”
Those who work with Mr Kaler praised his dedication.
Artistic director Damian Cruden, who has co-directed the panto for the past 21 years, said: “I’d normally say something daft, we always joke about the relationship between the ‘manager’ and the ‘dame’, however today is a little more serious.
“Berwick has served the people of York and York Theatre Royal with absolute commitment for 40 years. He is due a rest.”