Curtain up on Palace Theatre’s new season

PANTO season is drawing to close but Mansfield Palace Theatre bosses have got a host of top acts lined up to keep audiences entertained in 2011.

There is plenty for all tastes and all ages in a line up which features artists as diverse as legendary comedian Frank Carson and the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

Frank Carson appears on 10th February as part of the Comedy Night Out, which also features Duncan Norvelle and Ian ‘Sludge’ Lees. The two hour show promises a host of laughs from the veterans of TV’s Tiswas, Celebrity Squares and Noel’s House Party.

And just a day later, in tribute to the diversity of acts featuring on the Palace Theatre stage , the supremely evil Baron Von Rockula takes to the theatre’s stage for Vampires Rock. It is Steve Steinman’s story of the Baron’s search for a new bride set to rock anthems like ‘Highway to Hell’ and featuring a special pyrotechnic effects. The show features on 11th-12th February.

Rock is the theme of the Bon Jovi experience, a tribute to the American rock band formed in 1983 and featuring lead singer and namesake, Jon Bon Jovi. Fans can expect all the top Bon Jovi classics, like Livin’ on a Prayer and Keep the Faith. The show is on 3rd February.

A host of familiar tales are being retold on the theatre’s stage this season. Pride and Prejudice is the story of Elizabeth Bennett and the enigmatic Mr Darcy.

In March, Mansfield Amateur Operatic Society presents Oklahoma! the Rogers and Hammerstein classic. The show features toe-tapping tunes like Oh What a Beautiful Morning and Kansas City.

And continuing the musical theme later that month, West Side Story is brought to life by youngsters from the local New Youth Theatre group.

The classic tale set in 1950s America, on stage 28-th-29th March, is a 20th century re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet explores the rivalry between two gangs, the Sharks and the Jets.

The Palace Theatre’s Stage Left and Stage Right theatre companies take on a pair of plays which take on hot political topics. The plays, George Orwell’s Animal Farm and a Wan2talk, a play by Kevin Fegan take place on 17th-18th February .

As usual, fans of classic musics have got plenty to look forward to, with this season’s line-up featuring The Searchers, Steeleye Span and a tribute to the music of the 1950s.

The Searchers racked up hits like Sweets for My Sweet, Needles and Pins and When You Walk in the Room, with record sales topping 40 million.

Steeleye Span formed in 1969 and were among the pioneers of the folk-rock movement. The current line-up features Maddy Prior, the voice of Steeleye Span for more than 36 years. She is joined for the gig on 26th March by fiddler Peter Knight, bassist Rick Kemp, Peter Zorn on guitar and drummer Liam Genockey.

In Dreams features the music of Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly in a show set to hit the stage on 25th February.

Musicians will perform original arrangements of classic wartime chart toppers, including In The Mood, Moonlight Serenade and American Patrol for the Glenn Miller Orchestra show on 9th March, a show for the diaries of Big Band fans.

For those who prefer the art of dance, there is also plenty to look forward to. An evening of youth dance featuring local group and all styles features on 21st February, for the Mansfield and Ashfield Dance Platform.

Capturing the spirit of the Emerald Isle on 11-12th March, The Essence of Ireland features a mixture of traditional and modern song and dance - and a touch of the Irish Craic.

For those looking to learn the art themselves, there are Exercises Through Dance sessions from 31st January to 21st March. And for something a little bit out of the ordinary, Yoga Dance classes run from 1st-15th February.

Youngsters are in for a treat when Roary the Racing car zooms on to the stage in February. Roary, a much loved character from children’s TV, is appearing live for the first time in a story about a race to become the Champion of Champions. The final panto of the season in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, brought to the stage by the Mansfield Hospital’s Theatre Troupe. It runs from 22nd-29th January, excluding 23rd January.

• For more information visit www.mansfield.gov.uk/palacetheatre or ring the box office on Mansfield 633133.