Jokes galore, cracking characters, and breathtaking scenes ... panto season is back at the Forum!

The cast of Peter Pan on stage at the Forum Theatre. Picture by FRANK REID
The cast of Peter Pan on stage at the Forum Theatre. Picture by FRANK REID

Panto time is back in the Tees Valley. Oh yes it is!

And organisers of this year’s Forum theatre production in Billingham are ready for a record-breaking season with their run of Peter Pan from this Saturday until Sunday, January 6.

Hartlepool actress Victoria Holtom (who plays Tinkerbell) and Ben-Ryan Davies (Peter Pan) get ready for panto season at the Forum Theatre.

Hartlepool actress Victoria Holtom (who plays Tinkerbell) and Ben-Ryan Davies (Peter Pan) get ready for panto season at the Forum Theatre.

There’s a great line-up including former Emmerdale star Kurtis Stacey who played Alex Moss in the soap. He’s back for a third season at Billingham and will be playing Captain Hook.

The main role of Peter Pan is taken by Ben-Ryan Davies of Hollyoaks and Waterloo Road fame.

Funnymen, the Harper Brothers, are back as Starkey and Pegleg and another annual Forum favourite Barnaby plays Smee.

There’s a double dose of local stars to look forward to with Hartlepool actor Victoria Holtom playing Fairy Tinkerbell and Mollie Shellard, a teacher at the Forum’s own Theatre School, starring as Wendy in her first professional pantomime role.

Ticket sales are flying through the roof and we have had to put extra performances on for schools and the general public. It is amazing. We have turned it up a notch

Liz Cooper

Another newcomer is Charlie Legg who stars as the Panto Dame Able Mable. And there will be the usual fabulous support from the Forum Theatre School members and dancers from Mirage Productions.

Theatre marketing manager Liz Cooper, said: “Ticket sales are flying through the roof and we have had to put extra performances on for schools and the general public.”

The show may not start until the weekend but Liz said: “Rehearsals are looking really good.”

Most of the cast are former Forum favourites who are back again and that team spirit is really paying off, said Liz. She described this year’s show as even better than last year’s production of Cinderella and said: “It is amazing. We have turned it up a notch and the dancing and the songs are outstanding.”

Mollie Shellard (Wendy) with her dog played by Julian Riley in Peter Pan at the Forum Theatre.

Mollie Shellard (Wendy) with her dog played by Julian Riley in Peter Pan at the Forum Theatre.

As well as performing, Barnaby is also the show’s writer and director. It’s his third year of doing it and he spends three to four months putting the show together.

He told the Hartlepool Mail: “The biggest satisfaction for me is listening to the kids enjoying the show.”

He praised the Forum theatre for its ambience and its behind-the-scenes team for helping to stage a great show every year.

“You really do feel like you are coming to something special,” he said.

Cast members from Peter Pan on stage at the Forum Theatre. Picture by FRANK REID

Cast members from Peter Pan on stage at the Forum Theatre. Picture by FRANK REID

Tickets are already being snapped up for Peter Pan.

To book and for more information, contact (01642) 552663 or visit www.forumtheatrebillingham.co.uk.