THE stage is set, judges are primed and nerves must be conquered in the quest to find the leading lights of this year’s pantomime in Weymouth.

After an intensive period of auditions at the Pineapple Dance Studio in London and Weymouth Pavilion, almost 40 competitors have been whittled down to just 10 – four of them from Weymouth and Portland.

Now they will have to fight for a potentially career-transforming chance to appear as either Jack or Princess Apricot in Jack and the Beanstalk, which runs at Weymouth Pavilion from December 15 to January 6.

They are Adrian Bevan, who took the star role in Wey Valley School’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat last year, this year’s carnival princess Hannah Derrick and Bath Spa University graduate Sophie Easthope.

The youngest will be 16-year-old Megan Bargey from Portland.

The finalists have already impressed judges of The Panto Factor – show producer Jamie Alexander Wilson, vocal coach Jasette Amos, the Dorset Echo’s Ruth Meech and Wessex FM’s Maria Greenwood – in two rounds of auditions.

But in a glittering gala grand finale show at Weymouth Pavilion tomorrow night they will have to pull out all the stops in order to win.

Jamie said: “It was tough choosing the 10 but I am pleased to see so many local people turning out and proving talented enough to get to the final. “I’m not going to pick the best story or go for someone local for the sake of it. It’s a level playing field and I’m going to choose the two best.”

Three main characters have already been cast, King Crumble is played by X Factor finalist Andy Abraham, Home and Away star Lynne McGranger will appear as evil Fairy Fleshcreep and ’90s pop sensation Lolly, aka Ana Kumble, is Fairy Fabulous.

The decision of who will join them on stage for more than 30 shows will be decided at tomorrow’s grand finale in the Pavilion’s Ocean Room, which will also include a performance by Andy Abraham.

It starts at 7.30pm and tickets are £5 from the box office on 01305 783225 or at the door.