Panto returns to revived Brighton theatre – oh yes it does!

Brighton director James Weisz is bringing panto back to a Brighton theatre for the first time since it reopened.

Along with writer Patric Kearns, he will be putting on Pinocchio at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA), formerly the Gardner Arts Centre.

The theatre, on the Sussex University campus at Falmer, had a long tradition of hosting pantomimes before it closed in 2007.

It has since had a multimillion-pound refurbishment, reopening as the Attenborough Centre in 2015, with Pinocchio becoming the first pantomime since then.

Mr Weisz said: “We’re thrilled and delighted to be given this opportunity to bring our work to the wonderful Attenborough Centre, especially as it means I’m going back to the location where it all started for me.

“I started my career in the cast of Mike Carter productions as a youngster and then went on to become assistant stage manager and deputy stage manager over time. It feels like a full circle for me.”

Local playwright and theatre director Mike Carter put on a panto at the Gardner each year from 1987 to 2005.

Mr Weisz said: “The new team and facilities are top-notch and we look forward to having a working relationship long into the future.

“These productions are for everyone in the Brighton and Hove area so we’re very much hoping we’ll get plenty of local support.”

Last Christmas Mr Weisz put on Beauty and the Beast at the now closed 88 London Road, Brighton, previously known as the Emporium.

Mr Weisz’s company, JW Productions, is currently touring with the Wind in the Willows, which recently played at the Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT), in Dyke Road, Hove, and at Lewes Castle.

The next performances are at Highdown Gardens, Worthing, from today (Tuesday 25 July) until Friday (28 July).

Pinocchio is due to play from Wednesday 20 December until Saturday 6 January. Tickets cost £12 (concessions available) and go on sale from Monday 7 August.

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