Gaiety Theatre is go!

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THE GAIETY Theatre in Ayr began its new lease of life with a song and a shout this week as inaugural panto Cinderella pulled in the punters.

The first performances of the favourite fairytale took place on Tuesday before an audience of more than 400, marking the start of an almost month-long run over the festive season.

The inaugural evening performance of the Gaiety’s first show in four years takes place this evening, those before that being especially for schools, but theatre insiders say potential panto goers will need to act fast to secure tickets over the Christmas holiday.

Once the largest performing arts venue between Glasgow and England, presenting over 220 performances a year to an audience of just over 80,000, the Gaiety was closed down for health and safety reasons in 2009.

But after benefitting from a £750,000 investment in culture and the arts from South Ayrshire Council, and a Scottish Government grant worth £221,000, it is envisioned the refurbished building will be a multi-purpose, multi-artform venue, a flagship community resource, and a centre for excellence for education and training.

Promising to be a spellbinding pantomime full of music, magic and mayhem, special effects, breathtaking sets, loads of laughs and lavish costumes, Cinderella also boasts some of the west of Scotland’s top acting and production talent - including Gary Lamont (River City’s Robbie Fraser), Leah McRae (Gary: Tank Commander’s Julie), and Gaiety veteran Michael Courtney.

Speaking earlier this autumn Leah MacRae said: “I am delighted to be part of the first production in the newly restored Gaiety Theatre. The people of Ayrshire are in for a real treat with a fantastic panto, produced by a brilliant production company, with a cracking cast.”

But as well as Cinderella, the performance venue has a variety of music, drama and comedy lined up for 2013, including Ayr-born singer-songwriter Little Fire, Scottish comedian Vladimir McTavish, and Burns play A Man’s a Man next month.

Cinderella will run until January 6. Tickets are priced from £12.50 to £15.50 and family tickets are available.

Phone bookings for any show can be made by calling 01292 280134 and online booking is available with no booking fee required at www.thelittleboxoffice.co/thegaiety. For further details visit www.thegaiety.co.uk.