A community theatre group with a reputation for wowing crowds is gearing up to perform its annual pantomime.
The curtain is due to go up later this month on Blackhall Community Drama Group’s new show, Sleeping Beauty, with organisers describing it as a ‘fast paced’ production for all the family.
The drama group, which has been going for 60 years, has spent months rehearsing for the show and hopes their efforts will see hundreds of people turn out to see it.
Show seamstress Margaret Stephenson, 77, said: “It is a big production with amateurs who have a very professional attitude.
“We have been going for 60 years and we have people aged from seven to 77.
“We have been rehearsing twice a week since September and have been stepping it up to three times a week since Christmas.
“Everybody is raring to go now we are reaching the beginning of the show itself.
“It is great seeing it all come together after all the hard work.
“We are a very family orientated group and have generations down the line who have taken part.”
Margaret has been a part of the group for 43 years and her two daughters, Carole Scott, 52, and Catherine Hall, 47, are also involved as the show’s producers and choreographers, along with friend and producer Milly Tempest.
The pair also star in the new production as the Fairy Queen and Comic.
Margaret’s granddaughter Francesca Hall, 19, from Peterlee, is also involved taking on the role of Sleeping Beauty and Sarah Teasdale, 25, from Blackhall, taking on the role of the Prince.
Margaret’s husband Alan Stephenson, 78, is also involved behind the scenes.
Margaret added: “I became involved because my children were involved and it just snowballed from there.
“We always do a traditional pantomime featuring lovely songs from different musicals such as Mary Poppins and Footloose.
“We try to make it as professional as we can and we have been told that people would rather go to see our shown than the Sunderland and Newcastle ones.
“The show has all the traditional panto elements involved in it, but there are one or two surprises.
“We have been told that it gets better each year and we try to give people a variety of songs and dances.
“We like to keep it lively and fast paced.
“People come from all over to see it.”
The show runs from Tuesday, January 23, to Friday, January 26, at 7pm and the final show is on Saturday, January 27, at 2pm.
Tickets are £5 and can be bought from the community centre by calling 0191 5867396 or 0191 5871851.