PICKERING Musical Society is in the last few days of rehearsal for its annual pantomime.

This year the society is performing Hansel & Gretel, written by member Ron Hall and directed by Luke Arnold.

The production follows the traditional fairy-tale and is set in the village of Munchin Koffdropp deep in the heart of Germany. As their adventure unfolds we meet Hansel and Gretel together with their friends Heidi and Martin who this year are played by Alice and Niamh Rose.

Marcus Burnside will again this year play the pantomime dame Miss Daisy Demeanour and is joined by his sidekick Stephen Temple as Willie the village idiot.

As we know from the traditional fairy-tale the children are kidnapped by their father, played by Colin Wragg, and stepmother, Linda Tester, and are abandoned in the forest where they find a wonderful gingerbread house. All is not what it seams as this lovely house is owned by the wicked witch of the wood played by Maureen Symonds.

This year's production is very special as it marks the start of the 100th anniversary year of Pickering Musical Society. Founded in 1919 by a group of talented local people the society has been producing musicals and pantomimes ever since.

Director and theatre manager, Luke Arnold, said: “We are all really proud that Pickering Musical Society has reached this wonderful milestone. It is a privilege to be directing the pantomime in this special year and so lovely to see so many people involved on stage and behind the scenes."

The production features a cast of more than 40 local performers aged from 8 to 80 and includes members of the Pickering Musical Society Youth Theatre together with dancers from the Sarah Louise Ashworth School of Dance.

Hansel & Gretel opens on Friday, January 11 and runs until Sunday the 20th - performances are every evening with matinee performances at the weekends.

Tickets start from £12 and are available online at www.kirktheatre.co.uk or by telephoning the box office on 01751 472127.