ONE of the region’s oldest amateur dramatics societies is staging the northern premier of a classic tale.

The Stockton Stage Society is currently rehearsing Disney’s My Son Pinocchio, Geppetto’s Musical Tale at Billingham Forum theatre.

The society is 95 years old and is thought to be the oldest in the Tees Valley and one of the oldest in the North-East.

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Director Roy Thompson said he wanted to choose a production that could involve the society’s children but wanted to do something different from the more typical productions like Oliver and Annie.

Singers and performers from Darlington to Guisborough are taking part and two boys, Joel Pitcher and Conall Deane are sharing the lead role in different performances.

Mr Thompson said: “We currently doing flying lessons on the stage for our younger characters to swing around, and the boys are buzzing as you can imagine. It makes a real difference when you can get on an actual stage to rehearse and it’s really coming together.

"It’s not just a children’s show. It is a family show but there’s a lot of humour for adults too. I noticed a Disney licence was available and when I saw it had never been performed in the north before and had such great songs, I jumped at it.”

The show will be staged at Billingham's Forum Theatre from next Wednesday to Sunday, March 9, with matinees on the Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are between £10 and £15 but are selling fast. Call 01642-552663 to book.