Teachers tread the boards

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It may only be November but the Grand Opera House will be getting into the festive spirt when New Lyric Operatic Company bring their production of White Christmas to the stage next week.

The curtain goes up on Tuesday November 17 and the cast includes two teachers from Pond Park Primary School - Alison McCalister and Karen Hawthorne.

Alison McCalister, who started performing with Lisnagarvey Operatic Society, will star in the Irving Berlin classic as the former starlet Martha Watson.

“I am a huge fan of the film,” said Alison. “The stage show is very similar but some of the roles are more significant - Martha Watson is one of those - in the film she is very much the housekeeper but in the stage show she is an past Broadway star who has been on stage with Ethel merman and she falls in love with General Waverley.

“She is totally hilarious, very outspoken and is never wrong. It’s wonderful to be bringing the Northern Ireland premiere to the Grand Opera House.

“Rehearsals are totally focused and electric. The company’s work ethic can only be given high praise.

“They are such a hugely dedicated bunch. We have had fun and we are wrecked at the end of every call but it’s worth every minute.”

Alison is certain this show will get everyone into the Christmas spirit. “White Christmas is the very antithesis of love, warmth and good feeling. It will put everyone in the Christmas mood - that’s guaranteed.”

26-year-old Karen Hawthorne is also a teacher at Pond Park Primary and has been performing with New Lyric since she was 17.

She is taking on the role of Betty Haynes and is delighted to be taking to the stage once again. As opening night approaches my heart has begun to pound,” said Karen.

“Not in fear but in sheer excitement that we’ll finally get to share this show with the audiences of Belfast.

“Fans of the film will not be disappointed the musical simply has more to offer. If you love romance and tinsel we have it in spades. If there was ever a show to gee up your Christmas we have it.”

Tickets for the show, which runs from November 17 until November 21, are on sale now from the Grand Opera House Box Office on 9024 1919 or onlihe at www.goh.co.uk.