A ‘Strictly’ brilliant idea for a Gorleston Theatre company and Great Yarmouth show

Pau Irving (left) with Strictly dancers Luba Mushtuk and Giovanni Pernice and director of production

Pau Irving (left) with Strictly dancers Luba Mushtuk and Giovanni Pernice and director of productions Karis Day.Picture: Tom Kennedy-Dack - Credit: Archant

A seaside theatre is strictly the favourite of a Norfolk entertainer – for it is where he launched his career and a growing business starring top TV dancers.

Paul Irving first stepped on stage at St George’s Theatre in his home town, Great Yarmouth, as a teenage “barman” amid the splurge gun fun of youth musical Bugsy Malone in 1993.

And a one off show starring a Strictly Come Dancing duo he organised at the venue 22 years later has blossomed into a venture now involving three television couples and 100 touring shows.

Paul is currently back at St George’s rehearsing the return of a popular musicals show ahead of another busy ”Strictly” stage season – and told how the converted church holds a special place in his heart and life.

“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, who is now 36.

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.

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He has now started a Strictly Theatre Company business based in Gorleston, which 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! And it is all thanks to St George’s,” he added.

Paul admits “I cannot dance to save my life”, but plays comedy and character parts in shows, including the musicals one now coming to the boil for a four performance run at St George’s.

A Night at the Musicals involves professional singers and dancers performing numbers from stage shows and movies – including Cabaret, Moulin Rouge and Cats.

Shows are on August 15 and 28 and September 11 (all 8pm) and a 3pm matinee on September 17. Tickets £14 (£12 concessions). Visit www.stgeorgestheatre.com or call the box office on 01493 331484.