DARLINGTON’S Hippodrome Theatre has announced its new line-up following a multi-million pound restoration.

The theatre, formerly known as Darlington Civic Theatre, closed last year for an £11.7m revamp, with the installation of another 1,000 seats, and back stage areas improved to accommodate larger touring shows.

It will welcome audiences back after the 18-month closure, from November 21, with an opening season line up including Jimmy Osmond, Peppa Pig, the Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia, and a production directed and choreographed by acid-tongued Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood.

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And the first theatre group to tread the boards on the new stage will be local amateur dramatics group Darlington OS with a performance of Strictly Musicals 2, a song and dance show featuring numbers from some of the best-known musicals, including Mamma Mia, Wicked, and Phantom of the Opera.

From December 9 Darlington’s own West End leading lady Zoe Birkett will star in the Hippodrome’s first pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, alongside Lee Ryan, formerly of boy band Blue.

Revel Horwood’s production Son of a Preacher Man will be performed in February, then Jimmy Osmond presents his own tribute to singer Andy Williams in Moon River and Me.

Later in February three ballets, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker are staged by the Russian State Ballet & Orchestra of Siberia.

Blood Brothers and an adaptation of David Walliams’ book Awful Auntie follow, before comedy West End hit The Play that Goes Wrong, which is now being performed on Broadway, will be staged.

Quadrophenia and Eastenders star plays the lead in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and as the opening season draws to a close, preschool favourite Peppa Pig will return for a two-night run, and Ruth Rendell classic Gallowglass will be staged during Easter Week.

The Hippdrome has been restored both externally and inside in the Edwardian auditorium, and a new entrance created, while a further £2.9m is being spent on the old fire station next door to turn it into the only specialist children’s theatre north of London.

The 150-seat studio theatre and cafe will be called Hullaballoon, and will connect the Civic theatre to the neighbouring Edwardian former fire station.For more information about the Hippodrome’s reopening season, and to book, contact the box office on 01325-405405 or visit www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk.