Gareth Gates, Kate Rusby and Russell Kane all announced for Doncaster Cast opening

Gareth Gates

Gareth Gates

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Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates will be one of the first stars to perform at Doncaster’s brand new performance venue Cast when it opens later this year.

Gareth, who finished as runner-up to Will Young on the hit show in 2002, will feature in a programme that also includes comedy, dance and theatre following the announcement of the opening acts.

And Doncaster is also set to see a festive battle of the pantomimes - with both the new performance venue and Doncaster Racecourse staging productions of Cinderella throughout December.

Cast will open on September 6 with a free event entitled A Cast of Thousands, a spectacular explosion of performance outside the theatre in Sir Nigel Gresley Square.

That will be followed by a two week run of local writer Richard Cameron’s The Glee Club, which tells the stories of a group of miners from Edlington with a free open house event on September 7-8 to give people a glimpse of the new building.

Other highlights in the opening months include a host of Yorkshire talent including singer Rita Payne on September 21, Barnsley folk songbird Kate Rusby on September 22, Gareth Gates on September 25, jazz star Clare Teal on September 28 and the Phoenix Dance Theatre on October 8.

Huddersfield born poet Simon Armitage will appear on October 20 and comedian Russell Kane will be in town on November 20.

A production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, presented by Filter Theatre in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company will run from October 15-19 and international hip hop dance sensation Nobulus: Out Of The Shadow will appear on October 25.

Cast will close the year with its production of Cinderella from December 5-31 - going head to head with Doncaster Racecourse which is staging the same pantomime from December 12 - January 5.

The Racecourse production will be staged by Pantoni Productions, the firm responsible for staging Doncaster’s panto at the now redundant Civic Theatre for the past fifteen years.

Further acts at Cast are due to be announced in the next few weeks and tickets for all shows will go on sale at the start of July.