Floods, illness and departures – but the show must go on!

Robyn Kinnersley, 19, of Sedgefield, with Aaron Heppl, 19, of Seaham, in the Seaham Youth Theatre Group's production of Beauty and the Beast

Robyn Kinnersley, 19, of Sedgefield, with Aaron Heppl, 19, of Seaham, in the Seaham Youth Theatre Group's production of Beauty and the Beast

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THE show must go on for a theatre group which has beaten a flood and illness to put on a fairy-tale performance.

Seaham Youth Theatre Group has never cancelled a show in its 21 years.

And this year, despite flooding under the stage, and the departure of two musical directors, the group is ready to pull out all the stops for its production of the classic tale Beauty and the Beast.

“We have had a logistical nightmare getting everything rearranged,” said Heather Hepple, group secretary.

“But, in time-honoured style, the show must go on.

“We have never cancelled, and now are all sorted and ready for a fabulous show.”

The production, with a cast of about 40 youngsters, aged between six and 19, including performers Aaron Hepple, of Seaham, and Robyn Kinnersley, of Sedgefield.

It is being staged at Seaham School of Technology until Saturday.

“The Beast is played by Aaron and Belle by Robyn,” said Heather.

“Robyn has reached the final of Miss Sunderland, so now we have a real beauty.

“This could be the last chance to see some of the cast before they move on to the professional stage.

“We have a 10-piece orchestra led by Peter Forster, and a stunning set designed by Peter Archer.

“Chip’s trolley is magical and bound to fascinate everyone, and the costumes provided by Alan Graham are absolutely splendid. “Considering we have had so many problems, and had to reschedule the dates, it is a miracle we have managed to bring it all together and make it the spectacle it is.”

Victoria Elliott, star of BBC TV show Hebburn, is set to attend the performance, which was originally due to go on stage in February.

“We are thrilled Victoria is coming to see the show,” said Heather.

“She has just finished on the West End and is due to perform at The Globe Theatre.

“People had to return their tickets in February, and didn’t buy new ones because we didn’t have a definite date for the show.

“We would like them to come back, and have a full house, so we want to tell everyone that it is on.”

Tickets cost £7. Call 523 8713.