A star actor who has appeared in a host of popular TV shows and one of Britain’s youngest TV presenters are set to join the cast of this year’s Norwich Theatre Royal pantomime.

Rik Makarem and Kiera-Nicole Brennan will play Abanazar and The Genie respectively in this year’s festive family spectacular Aladdin which runs from December 12 to January 13.

Rik is best known for playing the role of Nikhil Sharma in ITV’s primetime hit Emmerdale. With over 600 episodes, often playing across both comedic and dramatic storylines, Nikhil was an instant and firm favourite in the show and fans were left devastated when the character left the Dales for Canada in 2016.

Rik also took on another high-profile role, starring as the troubled junior doctor Sebastian Grayling in the BBC’s Casualty in 2016-17, as well as guest starring in other top TV series like Torchwood and Foyles War.

No stranger to the theatrical world, Rik played Emmett in the acclaimed production of The Dishwashers opposite David Essex, and previously he appeared on the Norwich Theatre Royal stage in the Peter James mystery Dead Simple starring alongside Tina Hobley and Michael McKell in 2015.

The multi-talented performer is also a Formula 1 enthusiast and a passionate songwriter.

Meanwhile Kiera-Nicole is, at 19, the youngest presenter on Channel 5 regularly hosting its popular children’s strand Milkshake. A former student of the world-famous BRIT school in London, she is a talented singer and dancer and won her high-profile TV job straight out of drama school.

The pair will join former Hollyoaks and The History Boys star Steven Roberts, Norwich Theatre Royal panto stalwart Richard Gauntlett, and Norfolk-based entertainer Ben Langley in the show, with further casting to be announced.

Rik is very excited to be joining the Aladdin cast. He said: “I’m delighted to be returning to Norwich Theatre Royal, a wonderful spirited theatrical home with such warm audiences. Abanazar is a role I’ve enjoyed playing before and I’m already practicing my evil laugh. Panto is a charming experience, full of important themes and hidden morals, capturing the imagination of children and tugging on the heartstrings of the adults. I love that we all have licence to be a kid again. It’s simply magical.”

Aladdin will run at the Norwich Theatre Royal from Wednesday 12 December – Sunday 13 January. Tickets £10-£24.50. Under-threes free. Discounts for Over-60s, Under-18s, and Groups. To book, log onto or call the box office on 01603 630000

Plus, there will be a signed performance on Sunday 6 January at 1pm, an audio-described performance on Saturday 5 January at 2.30pm, a captioned performance on Sunday 6 January at 5pm and a relaxed performance especially suited to those with autism and their family and friends on Friday 4 January at 5.30pm. Tickets for this performance can be booked in person at our box office or by phone on 01603 630000.