PICTURE SPECIAL: Westovians spread some magic with Peter Pan-to

PANTO season may be over at most theatres – but it’s just getting started at one South Tyneside venue.

The Westovian Theatre Society is preparing to stage its annual show in the hope of helping people beat the January Blues.

STAR ROLES ... Mel Hogetts as Peter Pan and David Cooke as Hook.

STAR ROLES ... Mel Hogetts as Peter Pan and David Cooke as Hook.

This year’s offering is Peter Pan, which runs at the Westovian Theatre in Pier Parade, South Shields, from Friday, January 23, to Saturday, January 31.

The classic story, by JM Barrie, of a boy who never grows up, has been adapted for the troupe by South Shields playwright Philip Meeks.

Director Gareth Hunter said: “This panto is probably a little less madcap than usual because it’s such an established story, but it 
will still have all the humour and songs that people expect from a Westovians panto.

“It’s a traditional tale which has a few limitations when you put it on the stage.

“Obviously we can’t have a full galleon on stage and we can’t have the flying, so we’ve had to be quite clever with how we’ve portrayed Peter flying.

“It’s very much true to the original story but Philip has added in all those local references that people would expect and enjoy.”

Gareth, who has just finished playing little pig Bratwurst in Customs House panto Little Red Riding Hood, added: “Panto was traditionally performed at this time of year because it was thought of as a way to beat the January blues that set in after Christmas and New Year is over and done with.

“Over the years it’s been commercialised and has been moved forward to run up to and over Christmas, but putting it on now is a great way to lift people’s spirits a bit.

“Rehearsals are going really well. The cast is really bonding and having a lot of fun working on the show.

“We’ve just got a few technical things to put the finishing touches to now, so we can’t wait to get going.”

Tickets cost £9 for adults and £7 for children under 12.

To book before January 22, go the Visitor Information Centre at Haven Point in Pier Parade, South shields, or call 424 7788.

To book after January 23, call the Westovian Theatre box office on 456 0980.

For more information, visit the website HERE.

Ten per cent of ticket sales will be donated to the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki