Panto season takes to the high seas at Middlesbrough College

05 December 2017
Armed with a crutch and a parrot on his back, Josh Omri is looking forward to playing one of the most villainous characters to ever set sail on the high seas. 

The 17 year-old performing arts student has been cast alongside classmate Cameron Nunn, as Long John Silver in Middlesbrough College’s production of Treasure Island. 

This year’s panto has been given a Teesside twist with plenty of local phrases and jokes, as well as some characters you won’t have come across before.

In this adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s adventure novel, there are two villains for Jim Hawkins to contend with.

Sea witch Captain Salam and her crab henchmen will be taking on Long John Silver on the hunt for treasure. 

Josh is joined by Niamh Casey-Burnett, 17, who is playing damsel-in-distress, Joanna, and Paul Garbutt, 17, who is playing her miserable father, Papa Hawkins.

Paul said: “This is a feel good, family show that is guaranteed to leave you smiling.

“Since applying to Middlesbrough College, I have been given so many opportunities to get involved in theatrical productions. My tutors are fantastic and have so much industry knowledge; having trained at stage school and gone onto perform in the West End. 

“It is the first year that performing arts students have tackled the British classic, with previous panto’s including Aladdin and Robin Hood. 

The show features some chart-topping pop and rock tunes, with some old-school numbers thrown in for good measure.

It will also showcase a number of dances in different styles such as jazz, commercial, lyrical and ballet.

Claire Teesdale, theatre manager and visual and performing arts lecturer, added: “Staging performances such as these give our students industry experience and knowledge of professional conduct.

“Students on Performing and Productions Arts courses are involved in 11 productions throughout the year; however the College pantomime is always where we have the most fun.

“It’s an incredibly talented cast and production team. From our production arts students who work on the staging, lighting and sound to our musical theatre students, actors and dancers who perform on the night – everyone is working flat out to make the show a complete success.”

With many of the cast members applying for stage schools and university places, Paul has dreams of entering the world of musical theatre.

“I’d love to join a cruise ship show team or perform in a professional West End show,” he added.

Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive of Middlesbrough College, said: “Every year the college hosts a panto, and every year the tutors and students excel themselves, it just gets better and better.”

Families are invited to jump on-board the panto fun when the show sets sail on Wednesday December 6.

Performances take place on December 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18 and 19, from 7pm. There will also be two matinee performances at 12noon on December 9 and 10.

Tickets cost £10 (£6 concessions) and are available from the College reception Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.

Tickets are also available on the door before each performance.
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