AT HELMSLEY Arts Centre we’re deep into rehearsals for December’s 1812 Theatre Co pantomime Red Riding Hood.

And speaking as the Dame, who happens to be Red Riding Hood’s very naughty Granny Harriet - writes Martin Vander Weyer - I can promise a happy and hilarious entertainment for all the family, so do book early.

In the meantime we are looking forward to a superb touring professional show coming to the arts centre in the next couple of weeks.

On Friday, November 9, we welcome our neighbours from over the Moors, Esk Valley Theatre, with The Owl And The Pussycat by Bill Manhoff.

This is a play about two unlikely neighbours: Doris, a part-time prostitute who wants everyone to think she’s a talented model and actress; and Felix, who works in a bookshop but wants everyone to think he’s a talented writer.

Their gradual mutual discovery of who they really are makes a heart-warming comedy of unexpected love and the attraction of opposites.

A big hit on Broadway when it premiered in 1964 with Alan Alda (later a television star in MASH) and the black actress-singer Diana Sands, The Owl And The Pussycat went on to be a hugely successful 1970 film, directed by Herbert Ross and starring Barbara Streisand and George Segal.

This production, directed by Esk Valley’s Mark Stratton, comes with age guidance of 13-plus.

As ever, booking is advisable via the box office 01439 771700 or Last Friday, we were very excited to present It’s Different For Girls, a musical by all-female theatre company She Productions that was inspired by Hull’s pioneering 1960s girl band, Mandy & The Girlfriends.

The show was first developed after the She Productions team met the original “Girlfriends”

three years ago; it follows a fictional teenage band, Sindy & The Girlfriends, as they tour local pubs, leave their day jobs behind and go on to play for US troops in German, who are more interested in the length of their skirts than their musical talent.

Behind the catchy tunes and beehive hairstyles, the show highlights the risks and pressures faced by women, then and now.

Fun and feminist with a small ‘f’” is what the British Theatre Guide called the show after last year’s sell-out success at the East Riding Theatre in Beverley, where Helmsley Arts Centre artistic director Natasha Jones had a sneak preview of the show and decided it was a must for the Helmsley programme.