PIRATES and mermaids will be taking to the stage for a panto with a twist on a classic children's story.

Tickets are already on sale for this year's pantomime at the Gala Theatre, Durham, which is putting on its own production of Robinson Crusoe between Thursday, November 23 and Saturday, January 6.

Neil Armstrong and Paul Hartley are again on board to write, direct and star in the productions.

Mr Armstrong, who will be playing Captain Horatio Blackheart, said: “This will be my tenth year playing the baddie at the Gala and my third year writing and directing with Paul.

“We loved the idea of writing a piratical adventure this year so both thought Robinson Crusoe was a good bet.

“We've got mermaids, tropical parrots and hopefully a new twist on Man Friday – the set looks amazing and this year we have a wonderful special effects team working alongside us, so all aboard and bring on the pirates!"

Tickets cost between £6 and £17 with family tickets also available.

A British Sign Language interpreted performance will take place on Sunday, 10 December, while a relaxed performance for people with autism and their families will take place on Thursday, 14 December.

Robin Byers, Durham County Council’s manager for the Gala Theatre, said: “Gala’s pantomime is something we are hugely proud of. This will be the tenth year of producing our own pantomime, and we think we’ve developed the show into one of the best in the region."

For tickets visit www.galadurham.co.uk or call the box office on 03000 266 600.