It’s going to be a wizard production

DANCE ACADEMY.Freda Compton, Principle of the Elwick Academy of Dance with some members of the cast of Freda's 59th Annual Pantomime. Picture by GARY WORT'IRN'CATCHLINE:hm5207dance
DANCE ACADEMY.Freda Compton, Principle of the Elwick Academy of Dance with some members of the cast of Freda's 59th Annual Pantomime. Picture by GARY WORT'IRN'CATCHLINE:hm5207dance
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THE curtain will soon be going up on a Hartlepool dance school’s annual pantomiome – for the 65th year.

The Elwick Academy of Dance is planning to show the Wizard of Oz from Monday, January 6, to Friday, January 11, next year.

Tickets are already available for the production at the Town Hall Theatre, in Raby Road, and dance school owner Geoff Lucas said the excitement is mounting.

“It is all systems go. We have been working on it since just before the half-term holidays,” he said.

“In many ways, it is the highlight of the students’ year. In between everything else that they do, they get excited for this one as they can relax rather than having to push themselves to do their best in a competition.”

A cast of 100, aged from two upwards, will be performing in a version of the classic story.

Geoff said: “It is kind of the traditional Wizard of Oz but with a few modern twists to keep it up to date.”

The show is the 65th to be staged by the academy. It was all started by Geoff’s mum Freda Compton, the original owner of the dance school.

She founded the Elwick Academy of Dance in 1949 and staged 61 annual pantomimes.

Freda passed died three years ago, but the pantomime trend has been continued by her son. Geoff has starred in the shows himself. He told Dance Fever: “I was in them until 1979 which was Cinderella and I played Buttons.

“I think the first one I did was Babes in the Wood in 1967. I was one of the babes.”

Now Geoff is staging the productions himself. Wizard of Oz has performances at 6.45pm each night with tickets costing £9.50 or £8.50 with concessions.

They are available either from the dance school or from the theatre box office on (01429) 890000.