STRICTLY Come Dancing's Wirral judge Shirley Ballas will make her pantomime debut in Jack and the beanstalk at the Liverpool Empire later this year.

The Wallasey-born 'Queen of Latin' will star as Mother Nature in the show – staged from December 14 to January 6.

Looking ahead to the show during today's launch, Shirley told the Globe: "It's my first time on stage in a panto, and the first time I will get the chance to show off my acting skills, but it will be fun.

"I'm going to do my best to impress and hopefully the audience will like what I do."

In the production, Mother Nature’s task is to help Jack outwit the evil Giant and win fame, fortune and the hand of the girl he loves.

Joining Shirley is funnyman John Evans as Simple. John's work has taken him across the world, entertaining the British Forces on a number of occasions, as well as becoming a firm favourite with the world's major cruise lines.

Looking ahead to the show, Shirley continued: "The character I will play is, I hope, a nice one – not a wicked witch."

As far as she is concerned, the choice of panto venue was simple: "I was offered a few pantos at different venues, but Liverpool Empire was the one for me, because it means I will be able to head back to Wirral to see my mum, who's also planning to come and see the show with friends. So, it's ideal."

Her message to Strictly fans is simple: "Fi fi fo fum – I'm doing panto and it's going to be fun."

Having danced since the age of seven, Shirley has taken the dancing world by storm.

She is three time ‘British Open to the World’ Latin American Champion, ten-time US Latin American Champion, and multiple-times British National Champion.

By the age of 21, Shirley had won nearly every major title she competed in worldwide. She is the only person to have ever won the 'British Open to the World' Latin American Championships in Blackpool with two different partners and reached the finals an impressive 17 times.

Shirley still remains the youngest ever female to reach the 'British Open to the World' Dance Championship finals.

Since hanging up her competition heels twenty years ago, Shirley has gone on to forge a hugely successful career as one of the top Ballroom and Latin teachers and adjudicators in the world.

She appeared on the hit series Dancing With The Stars - the American version of Strictly - where she gave masterclasses and commentary on the shows.

Last year, she was replaced Len Goodman as head judge on Strictly.

Last year she debut on the show was a huge hit with the audiences, and people commended her encouraging feedback to the competing couples, and admired her extensive knowledge of dance.

Jack and the Beanstalk is being staged by Qdos Entertainment.

It promises sensational dance, laugh-out-loud comedy, special effects, audience participation and outstanding entertainment for theatregoers of all ages.

Michael Harrison, managing director of Qdos Entertainment’s pantomime division said: "I'm thrilled that we have managed to tempt Shirley out from behind the Strictly judging desk to show Liverpool audiences just why she’s considered one of the world’s finest dancers.

"Along with John's hilarious routines they'll be leading the company of a fantastic show that will entertain Empire audiences for another fantastic festive season."

Liverpool Empire's theatre director, Diane Belding said: "Strictly Come Dancing is one of the most popular programmes on television so who better to star in Liverpool's best pantomime than judge, Shirley Ballas.

"I'm sure Empire audiences will be as excited as we are to see Shirley returning home to Merseyside and performing live on the Empire stage. John Evans was a firm favourite last year so we’re thrilled he’s returning.

"He and Shirley are sure to deliver a performance that's a 10"

Tickets for the show – which runs from December 14 until January 6 – are from the box office on 0844 871 3017 or online at