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Love of Strictly and Great Yarmouth leads to theatre company’s glitzy success

PUBLISHED: 09:36 11 August 2017 | UPDATED: 09:36 11 August 2017

Strictly Theatre Company's new dance spectacular Backlash Ballroom is coming to Diss Corn Hall and Lowestoft Marina Theatre. Photo: Supplied

Strictly Theatre Company's new dance spectacular Backlash Ballroom is coming to Diss Corn Hall and Lowestoft Marina Theatre. Photo: Supplied

Archant

Paul Irving, who has built a company putting on hundreds of shows after launching his show business career at his home town theatre, is bringing his latest dance and music spectaculars to the region.

A Night at the Musicals sees Strictly Theatre Company return to St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth, for dates in August and September. Photo: SuppliedA Night at the Musicals sees Strictly Theatre Company return to St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth, for dates in August and September. Photo: Supplied

St George’s Theatre is strictly the favourite of Norfolk entertainer Paul Irving – it is where he launched his career and a growing business starring top TV dancers.

Paul first stepped on to the Great Yarmouth theatre’s stage as a teenage “barman” amid the splurge gun fun of youth musical Bugsy Malone in 1993. He clearly got the bug as a one-off show starring a Strictly Come Dancing duo he organised at the venue 22 years later has now blossomed into a showbiz venture, Strictly Theatre Company, involving three pro-dance couples and 100 touring shows.

And as part of a busy summer the company is bringing two shows back to the Yarmouth theatre with its annual summer musical show A Night at the Musicals and Rat Pack extravaganza An Evening with Frank, Dean & Judy on August 18.

Paul is currently back at St George’s rehearsing the return of the popular musicals show which includes a professional cast of six singers and six dancers and songs and dance from Evita, Chicago, Moulin Rouge, Les Mis, Miss Saigon and more.

Strictly Theatre Company's new dance spectacular Backlash Ballroom is coming to Diss Corn Hall and Lowestoft Marina Theatre. Photo: SuppliedStrictly Theatre Company's new dance spectacular Backlash Ballroom is coming to Diss Corn Hall and Lowestoft Marina Theatre. Photo: Supplied

“My sister encouraged me to have go in a Bugsy Malone show in 1993, staged by the Dusmagrik drama group. I was Joe the barman and fell in love the performing world,” said Paul, from Gorleston.

After studying performance at university he returned to St George’s as marketing manager and as a “huge Strictly fan”, two years ago he invited Ian Waite and Camilla Dallerup to do a show there. “It was meant to be a one-off, but sold out over two nights and drew standing ovations and I was asked to tour it,” he added.

Strictly Theatre Company based in Gorleston now has four staff, including wife Elizabeth. In September it launches a new tour for Ian and Camilla, one featuring Kristina Rihanoff and Tristan MacManus in October and has been running another involving Giovanni Pernice and Luba Mushtuk.

“We are doing more than 100 shows in a year now. As a Strictly fan I am living the dream,” he added.

Rat Pack celebration An Evening with Frank, Dean & Judy is heading to Great Yarmouth's St George's Theatre on August 18. Photo: SuppliedRat Pack celebration An Evening with Frank, Dean & Judy is heading to Great Yarmouth's St George's Theatre on August 18. Photo: Supplied

Paul admits “I cannot dance to save my life”, but plays comedy and character parts in shows.

Another of the company’s shows Backlash Ballroom, a dance spectacular featuring five professional Ballroom and Latin couples wearing costumes from the 2016 series of Strictly Come Dancing, is at Diss Corn Hall on August 12 and Lowestoft Marina Theatre on September 10.

An Evening with Frank, Dean & Judy is their swinging tribute to Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack, featuring Swing singers and brothers Paul and Stephen Amer who will be joined by female singer Ellie Darnell, their live show band including a world class brass section and dancing showgirls.

It celebrates an evening in Vegas at the Sands Casino with the infamous group and reminds us of the incredible talent, humour and musicality of Sinatra and Dean Martin along with music from some of the Hollywood starlets that performed alongside them – Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Peggy Lee to name a few.

• A Night at the Musicals, St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth, August 15, 28 and September 11, 8pm/September 17, 3pm, all £14 (£12 cons), 01493 331484, stgeorgestheatre.com

• Backlash Ballroom, Diss Corn Hall, August 12, 7.30pm, £16 (£15 cons), 01379 652241, disscornhall.co.uk

• An Evening with Frank, Dean & Judy, St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth, August 18, 7.30pm, £16 (£15 cons), 01493 331484, stgeorgestheatre.com

• Full details of Strictly Theatre Company and there shows at strictlytheatreco.com

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