Head out on the high seas at the Gala Theatre

Tickets are selling fast for the Gala Theatre’s latest pantomime – the swashbuckling tale of Robinson Crusoe.

The team behind Gala’s biggest-selling pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk, which saw over 33,000 people flock to 69 performances in 2016/17, are returning to put on this year’s show.

Neil Armstrong and Paul Hartley are again on board to write, direct and star in the pantomime, which takes place from Thursday, 23 November 2017 to Saturday, 6 January 2018.

“This will be my tenth year playing the baddie at the Gala and my third year writing and directing with Paul,” said Neil, who plays Captain Horatio Blackheart.

“We loved the idea of writing a piratical adventure this year so both thought Robinson Crusoe was a good bet.

“We’ve got mermaids, tropical parrots and hopefully a new twist on Man Friday – the set looks amazing and this year we have a wonderful special effects team working alongside us, so all aboard and bring on the pirates!

“The Durham audiences have been marvellous to Paul and I and we welcome them all back with open arms, big smiles and lots of boos!”

Gateshead-born Jamie Brown, who played the leading role in this year’s Mr Corvan’s Music Hall, will take on the role of Robinson as he sets off an adventure to find the fabled Pearl of Wisdom.

He will be joined on his quest by his brother Billy Bob, played by Paul, his mother Dame Connie Crusoe (Paul Dunn) as well as the feisty Polly Perkins – played by Sunderland actress Lauren Waine.

Along the way they will meet goddess of the sea Aqua Marina, played by Jayne Mackenzie, as they try to reach safer shores.

“This is my 15th panto year at the Gala and the last three have been the most fun. We’ve seen audience figures grow year on year and have gained a loyal following,” said Neil’s fellow director Paul.

“We’ve been excited to share the stage with great performers from Gala Theatre Stage School and look forward to creating more shows together.

“This year’s show is the biggest we’ve attempted and we are thrilled to be heading out on the high seas.”

Tickets cost between £6 and £17 with family tickets also available.

A BSL interpreted performance will take place on Sunday, 10 December, while a relaxed performance for people with autism and their families will take place on Thursday, 14 December.

Robin Byers, Durham County Council’s manager for the Gala Theatre, said: “Gala’s pantomime is something we are hugely proud of. This will be the tenth year of producing our own pantomime, and we think we’ve developed the show into one of the best in the region.

“Using actors and characters that our audiences love, the right amount of local flavour, and traditional stories told in a hilarious way, we are delighted that our audience return year after year in greater numbers. The feedback we get is overwhelmingly positive, and as long as people are enjoying what we do, we’ll keep on enjoying making the shows”.

For tickets visit www.galadurham.co.uk or call the box office on 03000 266 600.

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