X Factor star Lola Saunders is excited to take on her first pantomime this Christmas.
The East Boldon singer is heading back to the North East to appear in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Forum Theatre, in Billingham.
She’ll star as principal girl Jill in the show, which runs at the venue from December 3 to January 8.
The 22-year-old, who made it to the live finals of X Factor in 2014, said: “I’m so happy that I’m doing my first ever panto in the North East.
“It’ll be the best of both worlds getting to perform on stage every night and then go back home afterwards.”
Lola is due to finish a UK tour of Save The Last Dance For Me on Saturday.
She’s been starring in the musical – her theatrical debut – as one of two sisters who go on holiday without their parents for the first time.
She said: “I’ve absolutely loved being part of the show, but I can’t wait to get home now and spend a few days just relaxing and seeing my friends and family. Usually I only get home for a day or two and I’ve got so much to do, so it’ll be nice to relax then get stuck into panto.
“In the show now if something goes a bit wrong you can’t acknowledge it, but in panto the audience is a big part of the show and you can have fun with it.”
She added: “I used to go to panto all the time as a kid, but I haven’t been to one in a while, so I’m really looking forward to letting my inner child out a bit and to it being like Christmas every day.
“I’m looking forward to meeting everyone else, seeing the costumes and the set, starting rehearsals and getting out in front of the audiences – it’s going to be great.
“I’m just so excited that I’m going to be so close to home as well. Most people have to go really far away from home to do panto so I feel really lucky that I get to do mine so close to home.”
Tickets for the panto cost from £16. To book, go to www.forumtheatrebillingham.co.uk or call the box office on 01642 552 663.
The panto has already smashed advance ticket sales of previous years.