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From rugby scrum to panto stage – Max takes on role as Dame

06 Dec 2022
Pantomime performers

A sporty student has swapped the scrum for the stage to take on the role as Pantomime Dame in a popular Middlesbrough College production that returns to the stage this December.

Performing and Production Arts students at Middlesbrough College are set to dazzle audiences with their performance of Robinson Crusoe and the Pirates, promising more laughter than ever before.

The annual showcase, which returns to Middlesbrough College’s Theatre from today, Monday, December 5 to Tuesday, December 13, will be brimming with sparkling costumes, side-splitting jokes, and sing-along songs, with students taking on principal  roles as well as coordinating the production.

17-year-old Max Gorman, who takes on the coveted role of Dame Crusoe, said: “I was very nervous to audition as I’ve never done anything like this before, but it’s really given me a confidence boost.

“The Dame is a comedic role which is great experience as I really want to go into comedy writing and performance.

“I used to play rugby which is obviously a rough contact sport and acting is a completely different side to me which not many people knew about.

“That being said, my family are so supportive and love what I do. I can’t wait for them to see me on stage.”

The show has been double cast, meaning more than 60 students will take to the stage to tell the classic story of pirates and hijinks on the high seas.

The popular tale follows lead character Robinson Crusoe, who has always had an appetite for adventure. Living with his old mother Dame Crusoe, his washed-up father, Captain Crusoe and his silly billy brother Sprat, Robinson has no desire to take over the family fish and chip shop.

Meanwhile, the high seas are terrorised by the evil Captain Blacktashe in his search for the treasure, but the map where X marks the spot has been lost for years… will Robinson ever find the treasure?

18-year-old Lucy Barwick takes on the lead role of Robinson.

She said: “I auditioned for a different role and couldn’t believe I was cast as Robinson – it was completely unexpected, but in a good way.

“Rehearsing for the pantomime has been hard work but totally worth it. It’s an amazing opportunity to hone my talent on a real stage and my family and friends will be in the audience, making it even more special.”

Alongside the cast, Stage Management and Operations students will be supporting the show technically, coordinating stage management, lighting and sound.

Nicola Scott-Hughes, director and co-ordinator for Performing & Production Arts at Middlesbrough College said: “Robinson Crusoe and the Pirates is a family favourite and is sure to kick-start the festive season in style.

“Our talented students have been working incredibly hard over the past few months and I know this production will not disappoint.

“Tickets are selling fast so we’d encourage people to book in advance to avoid disappointment.”

Robinson Crusoe and the Pirates is on show at Middlesbrough College Theatre from Monday, December 5 until Tuesday, December 13. 

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