Group in for Hard Time

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THE curtain goes up tonight on a talented amateur dramatics’ group’s latest production.

The Billingham Players are staging Charles Dickens’ Hard Times for a week-long run.

Audiences can see catch the show all week until Saturday at The Theatre Upstairs, in Belasis Avenue.

Hard Times was Dickens’ 10th novel and was published in weekly parts in 1854.

It is set in the fictional milling northern town of Coketown, where Mr Gradgrind runs a school teaching children “nothing but facts”.

The players’ production has been adapted by Stephen Jeffreys and is directed by Thelma Russell.

Billingham Players member Claire Jennings said: “It’s impossible to summarise the plot, but there are comedy and circuses, seduction and snobbery, riches and robbery.

“It’s performed in the round and most of the actors play more than one part, so you may spot them frantically changing clothes and accents in the corners.”

The Billingham Players were founded by ICI workers in Billingham and stage several productions a year from comedy, to drama and musicals.

Tickets for Hard Times are priced £7 and £5 (concessions) tonight and £10 and £8 for all other performances.

There is a special offer on Thursday when all tickets are three for the price of two.

Call (01642) 586180 or 531519 or the theatre on 551981.

They are also available in person from Perfect Fit, in Station Road, Billingham, or the Stockton Tourist Information Office.

Doors open at 7pm and all performances start at 7.30pm.