THE Cotswold Playhouse are trumpeting the arrival of a mammoth star for this month’s production of Jules Verne’s classic adventure story “Around the World in 80 Days”.

However, their latest addition to the cast is certain to grab the audience’s attention without ever saying a word as the new recruit is a life-size Indian elephant!

Already christened “Jumbo” by the cast and crew, the massive model pachyderm is on load from animal conservation charity Elephant Family that aims to protect Asian wildlife and their habitat.

Sustainably built in India from reeds which are choking the elephant’s jungle habitat, he has been woven onto to a metal and timber framework for strength and durability.

A small herd of Jumbo’s cousins can already be seen grazing locally in the grounds of Sudely Castle.

Transporting the elephant to the Playhouse was a major project for a team drawn up from the production’s cast and crew who took on the tricky task of manoeuvring the huge model onto the stage.

In the play, the mysterious and fabulously wealthy Phileas Fogg wagers his entire fortune that he can circumnavigate the globe in just 80 days.

His journey takes him on a succession of railways trains, steamers, a wind-propelled sledge and, naturally, an elephant.

A cast of fourteen actors take on more than sixty different parts and a host of costume changes as the action travels from the misty streets of Victorian London via Egypt and India to China, Japan and the Wild West in a race against the clock.

Billed as an alternative to the traditional seasonal pantomime there is plenty to entertain the whole family with children’s tickets priced at just £8 and adults at £13.

Around the World In 80 Days is at the Cotswold Playhouse on Thursday 26th & Friday 27th of January at 7.30pm, with performances at 4pm on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th at 4pm. Then the following week from Thursday 2nd to Saturday 4th of February at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £13 for adults and £8 for under-sixteens and are available from the Cotswold Playhouse website