A COUNTY Durham theatre group is bringing one of Charles Dickens' best known characters to life for a tour of village halls.

The Barnard Castle-based Castle Players will take to the road with The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, starting with a performance at Gilling West Village Hall on Friday, January 4.

Director Jill Cole, who also wrote the script based on the Dickens novel, said it would be the first time members of the Players' junior group, the Turrets Youth Theatre, would appear on stage alongside their senior colleagues.

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“Traditionally, the Castle Players have always produced a short piece of entertainment or performance over the winter months to bring to our audince and provide members of the company with something before starting work on the big summer production,” said Ms Cole.

She said Dickens had been chosen to coincide with other events to celebrate the author's 200th birthday last year.

“Although the Dickens in Teesdale year has ended, a lot of people are talking about Dickens and his writing.

“We have done Dickens before, but as stand-up readings such as A Christmas Carol by candlelight,” she added.

After the opening show at Gilling West on Friday, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby heads to Bowes Village Hall (Saturday, January 6); Middleton-in-Teesdale Village Hall (Friday, January 11); Parish Hall, Newgate, Barnard Castle (Friday, January 18); Cotherstone Village Hall (Sunday, January 20); Newsham Village Hall (Saturday, January 26); Ingleton Village Hall (Sunday, January 27) and St Cuthbert's Centre, Crook (Sunday, February 3).

Anyone interested in going along should contact the venues directly for details of times and tickets.