Showtime for town’s budding stars

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THE Nativity with a twist is on the way thanks to a Hartlepool charity.

Festive times are planned for the Hartlepool Special Needs Support Group.

Its drama section, called Constellation And Friends, has started planning a two-show run of its Christmas production and support group manager/co-ordinator Pat Allison urged people to back it to raise vital funds.

It’s a glittering show with months of planning and rehearsing going into it, by a team of dedicated young actors.

Pat explained: “This is the Nativity re-written and everyone involved will play a main part. There will be about 16 people taking part from Constellation and their friends, and the performers are aged from six to 32.

“Ideas for the show have been taking shape throughout the summer with rehearsals starting last month. It is entertainment for all the family and it is the Nativity with a modern twist.”

Pat is hoping 100 people will come along to support the show, which runs from 7pm to 10pm on Friday, December 9, and from 2.30pm to 5.30pm for the matinee on Saturday, December 10. Tickets priced £4 are available from the support group for the show to be staged at the Northern Lights Academy in King Oswy Drive, Hartlepool.

It’s the latest event in a hectic period for the group, which is also holding a week of half-term activities this week.

Group members will go horse riding tomorrow, while sign language training sessions for the siblings of members are planned for Wednesday. They will be led by one of the group’s supporting care staff.

Thursday’s fun includes a children’s activities session which includes a magic show, while lunch at the Schooner pub is planned for Friday.

A visit to see Grease The Musical at the Empire Theatre, in Sunderland, is planned on Saturday, and all the activities are for members and their guests. Pat said: “We always welcome new members. We have about 100 families on our books at the moment with different abilities and different needs.”

She urged people to take up membership and support the group, which advances the education and abilities of young people with physical and learning difficulties.

The proceeds raised from the Christmas show will go towards the running of the support group which is based in Park Road, Hartlepool.

“You are talking about £150,000 a year to run this and it is difficult in this economic climate,” said Pat.

“We do get a steady contribution from members, but we try for grants as well and it is difficult.”

Anyone wanting more details, and people wanting tickets for the show, should contact the support group on (01429) 863766.