Oh no they didn’t as duo brings panto to life

Teachers James Mitchinson (as 'Abanazer') and Angela Lawery (as 'The Princess') with Year 4 pupils from Langley First School in Monkseaton. Picture by Jason Thompson.
Teachers James Mitchinson (as 'Abanazer') and Angela Lawery (as 'The Princess') with Year 4 pupils from Langley First School in Monkseaton. Picture by Jason Thompson.

Two teachers brought the panto world to the classroom as they served up a lesson children would not forget.

James Mitchinson and Angela Lawery gave a special lesson for Year 4 pupils at Langley First School in Monkseaton.

The pair are appearing in Aladdin at The Phoenix Theatre, in Blyth, this December and wore their pantomime costumes – James as Abanazer and Angela as the Princess – for the lesson.

James, 34, whose partner Beth is playing Aladdin, said: “Acting plays a massive part in my life and is only second to my love of teaching.

“Being on stage provides a real buzz and once you hit your stride the adrenalin kicks in, and the feeling of achievement is wonderful.

“Teaching and drama are very similar as being at the front of the classroom is much like standing on stage and performing to an audience, as you have to grab and keep someone’s attention with what you’re doing and saying.”

Angela, 27, of Blyth, is appearing in her first panto, just like James.

She said: “It will be a great privilege to be returning to The Phoenix Theatre in Aladdin, as this is where I had my very first appearance as an actress aged just eight-years-old.

“I caught the acting bug and it has never left me.”

Angela, who performed at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal this summer in ‘Sister Act’, added: “Acting and singing are a great means of escapism; a way of shedding the day-to-day trappings of life and allowing yourself to take on the persona of a different character which is really refreshing.”

“It’s also great fun getting the chance to work with new people and do what you love best in front of an appreciative audience at Christmas time.”

David Garrett, executive director of The Phoenix Theatre, said: “There’s no better way of bringing people together to sing, laugh and enjoy the magical spirit of theatre than the with a right royal pantomime.

“The Phoenix Theatre has been the cornerstone of performing arts in South East Northumberland for the past five decades; and it doesn’t look like losing momentum anytime soon, as it keeps going from strength-to-strength.

“We hope to continue providing families and individuals with a place to be entertained for generations to come, and 2016 looks like being another winning year in the making.”

Langley headteacher Tim Jones said: “It is fantastic to see two members of our staff following their dream and performing on stage.

“Both have always tried to bring their love of drama into teaching and are very creative teachers.

“We are also proud to have staff supporting such a wonderful community project as The Phoenix Theatre. We all wish the company well and hope the performances are successful and fitting for the 50th anniversary year.”

Aladdin runs at The Phoenix Theatre, Blyth from Saturday, December 5, until Sunday, December 13, with tickets priced at £12.50 for adults, £11.50 for concessions including children.

Tickets can be bought by calling the box office on 01670 367228 (Monday to Saturday 10am until 2pm), online www.thephoenixtheatre.org.uk or in person Monday to Saturday 10am until 12.30pm.

The performance times are 7.15pm for weekday performances (Mon-Fri) and 1.30pm and 6pm on weekends (Sat and Sun).