Midlands and Shropshire theatre round-up

A Staffordshire lad will be at the helm of a Wok ‘n’ Roll panto.

Following the record-breaking success of Jack and the Beanstalk, Stafford Gatehouse Theatre has announced Rob Salmon as the man in charge of this year’s production, Aladdin.

Born in Madeley, near Keele, Rob is well-known to local theatre goers having begun his career as a lead practitioner with Borderlines at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle under Lyme.

He also led the Education and Outreach Programme for the 2005 Stafford Festival Shakespeare production of Romeo and Juliet and has directed productions for the Stafford Gatehouse Youth Theatre.

After leaving Stafford for pastures new, Rob went on to work extensively in regional theatre, including Dukes Theatre, Lancaster, and the Salisbury Playhouse.

In recent years, as the current associate director at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, Rob has directed several sell-out rock ‘n’ roll pantomimes. Rob said: “I’m very much looking forward to returning to the Gatehouse for Aladdin – the Wok ‘n’ Roll Pantomime. It’s been over 10 years since I’ve worked in my home county and I can’t wait to see what the top-notch team of actor-musicians we’ve assembled, together with our wonderful team of creatives, can bring to those brilliant Stafford audiences. 

“Casting is complete, we’re in the middle of designing the set and costumes, and the script is being updated with new songs, new characters and new jokes. It’s really exciting.”

The panto will run from December 8 until January 8 and be filled with a storming line-up of classic rock ‘n’ roll hits from Aretha Franklin, The Monkees, James Brown, The Temptations, The Jackson Five, and many more.

Tickets are £19 for adults, £15 concessions and £62 for a family. 

Aladdin will also see the return of the ever-popular late-night adult-only performances, which will take place on January 5 and 6.

Tickets for those performances are £15.50. Tickets can be booked by calling the box office on 01785 619080 or by visiting www.staffordgatehousetheatre.co.uk

Meanwhile, a new play is coming to Oakengates Theatre @ The Place, in Telford, on October 15. Fans of the ITV’s Benidorm are in for a treat as Crissy Rock, who played Janey York on the show, stars.

 Crissy also appeared in the 2011 series of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here and is one of the joint writers of Seriously Dead, with co-star Leah Bell. They will line up with Frazer Hines of Doctor Who and Emmerdale. Hines starred as the companion of the Doctor on Doctor Who from 1966 to 1969, starring in 117 episodes, more than any other ‘companion’ actor in the history of the show.  He went on to star as Joe Sugden in Emmerdale for 22 years from 1972 to 1994. Billy Pearce complements the all-star cast.

Venue boss Debbie King said: “Seriously Dead brings together the lives of Albert, Betty, Billy and the local undertaker Tristan de Winter as they become inextricably linked towards a path that is leading to the pearly gates and a disgruntled guardian angel named Thelma on an ordinary day in the quiet little town of Olwinskirk.” 

Tickets cost £21 each and can be booked online at www.theplacetelford.com by calling the box office on 01952 382382, or in person at the theatre or Southwater One in Telford town Centre.

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