“We’ve been after Jeremy for years,” says producer and Joburg Theatre CEO, Jay, “but when an actor is going to work at 4am each day to prepare his radio show, it just isn’t practical to also fit in nine performances a week of a stage show! I’m thrilled he’s finally said yes. Pantomime stars often need to be larger-than-life personalities, so who better than Jeremy?”

Aladdin opens on the stage of The Mandela at Joburg Theatre on Wednesday, 30 October and runs until Sunday, 29 December.

Mansfield was raised in the Eastern Cape and attended the prestigious Kingswood College, founded in 1894, in Grahamstown. He performed in numerous college productions including Oliver!, the lead in The Mikado, the narrator for Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and was the first student to win Honours for Drama. He then studied at Rhodes University, majoring in Speech, Drama and Journalism. He acted in productions as diverse as Midsummer Night’s Dream (directed by Francois Swart), Ken Leach’s Taming of the Shrew to Bertold Brecht and numerous dance dramas (yes, he did study ballet with Embeth Davidtz of Schindler’s List fame and he did don tights) under the well-known South African choreographer Gary Gordon.

He was awarded the 1985 Vita Award for most Promising Young South African Actor for his role in Deon Opperman’s play Môre is ‘n Lang Dag.

Mansfield's career took him into radio and television. He worked for Capital Radio 604, Talk Radio 702 and 94.7 Highveld Stereo. His television credits include A Word or 2, Laugh Out Loud, for SuperSport and Front Row. He was also selected to voice characters in full length animated features; Pixar’s South African print of Toy Story 3 and for Jock of the Bushveld.

He has won more awards than any other media personality in the country, produced five CDs, three joke books, and co-authored two best-selling, multiple local and international award-winning cookbooks.

Using his high profile for charity work is important to him. He has raised funds for among many others, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and The Sunflower Fund of which he is a co-patron along with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. He has worked with an international welfare organisation, traveling to Libya on their behalf, and has been honoured by NSPCA (National Council of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare). He has raised millions of Rands for charity, a feat which was acknowledged by his Honorary Grandfather, former President Nelson Mandela.

Mansfield says, “I am delighted to finally work with Bernard and Janice. I’ve always respected their immense contribution to theatre. It’s going to be great to be in front of a live audience again, to see and hear children and the young at heart laughing. I’m also very proud to continue my charity work by including this aspect in Aladdin.”

Christopher Jaftha will play the title role of Aladdin. Jaftha has an impressive list of stage musical credits to his name, including Saturday Night Fever, High School Musical, Footloose, The Boys In The Photograph, Mamma Mia!, and currently Dirty Dancing. He is also now one of the most well recognised – and much admired – faces in print and television commercials in South Africa through his highly successful parallel career as a model. These include DSTV Box Office, Outsurance and Quick Books.

The rest of the casting for the 2013 pantomime will be announced shortly.

Michael Rubenstein, head group marketing at Bankservafrica explains the company is very proud to once again be supporting the arts in South Africa, through their sponsorship of the Joburg Theatre and Janice Honeyman’s pantomime. “This annual event has become a diary fixture for children, their parents and the young at heart and brings together the very best in South Africa talent. Now in our third year of sponsoring the Joburg Theatre’s pantomime, our strategic partnership underpins our company’s focus on investing in talent. Not only does theatre entertain, it provides sustainable economic opportunities for many South Africans in the arts.”

He says the continued support of South African business is an important thread in the fabric of the country’s society and one which would be missed. “The opportunity to support the theatre in this manner enables BankservAfrica to help realise the dreams of many artists to perform on one South Africa’s best theatrical stages and to also help make possible the opportunity for children all over Gauteng to be exposed to creativity and the world of imagination.”

Tickets for preview performances range from R130 to R240 and for all other performances from R180 to R290. Tickers are on sale now and can be booked by visiting www.joburgtheatre.com, or by calling the theatre’s direct ticketing line on 0861 670 670. Discounted rates for groups of ten or more are available by calling the theatre on 011 877 6853/4.

Janice Honeyman’s Aladdin is brought to the Joburg Theatre by BankservAfrica, in association with M-Net and Your Family magazine.