BORN into a showbiz family, Shane Nolan had an early insight into life in the spotlight.

And, like his dad, he served his apprenticeship as a young performer, entertaining family audiences at holiday camps.

Shane, the son of Coleen Nolan and Shane Ritchie, started his own career aged 18, as a Bluecoat at Pontins. Following in the footsteps of his dad, who also started out as a Bluecoat, the young Shane learned his trade and went on to star in such shows as High School Musical and Rock of Ages.

After working at Pontins for two years he went on to support his mum and aunts on the Nolans’ reunion tour in 2009, with younger brother Jake.

This Christmas, Shane is starring alongside Coleen in the Alhambra panto, Cinderella. Rehearsals got underway this week for the show, which sees Shane playing Prince Charming’s sidekick, Dandini.

“I grew up watching my dad doing panto, I remember as a child seeing him as Peter Pan, flying across the stage. I did panto with him a few years ago, it was Aladdin and I was Wishee Washee. We had such a laugh,” says Shane, 29. “Now I’ve got a two-year-old daughter, and I’m looking forward to her seeing me on stage. She’s a bit young for panto this year but maybe next Christmas she’ll be into it.”

Although Shane is looking forward to working with his mum and Alhambra panto king Billy Pearce, he’s under no illusions about the demands of panto. And as well as appearing on stage for 12 shows a week, he’ll be gigging with his band, Nolan, over the festive period too.

“I’ll be coming off stage at 10pm then driving to a gig and going on another stage with the band,” he says. “It’s a tough schedule but I love performing live, and the panto will be a blast. I love Billy, he cracks me up. I’ll probably be in stitches when I’m with him on stage, but that’s all part of panto. I think the audiences will expect a bit of ‘corpsing’ from us.”

Shane and his brother Jake, now lead vocalist of pop rock band, Rixton, were teenagers when they sang at St George’s Hall at the Nolans’ reunion tour. Now Shane is looking forward to working with his mum once again.

“It makes it extra special, it feels like we're a bit of a double act at the moment. We’ll be sharing a place together during the panto run - so at least I get my washing done!” he laughs, peeking over his shoulder at the Alhambra's panto launch event to see his mother mouthing the words: "No chance".

Adds Shane: “The Alhambra panto is one of the biggies, it’s the one everyone wants to do, so to do it with Mum is fantastic.

"Panto is one of the hardest things in theatre; it gets a lot of stick but to pull it off properly you have to know what you’re doing. There’s a lot more to it than goofing around on a stage.

“Billy is a master of pantomime; he makes it look effortless, which is where the skill is, but he works so hard. He's a naturally funny guy, and he respects the traditions of panto.”

As well as fronting his band, Shane is carving a successful career in musical theatre. He has starred in such shows as Boogie Nights - The 70s Musical, alongside Gareth Gates and the Osmonds, and more recently he completed a tour with David Hasselhoff in Nineties-themed musical Last Night a DJ Saved My Life.

Does he see his future on the stage, or would he like to try straight drama too?

“It’s good to do different things. I have a few plans in the pipeline, we’ll see what happens,” he says. "For now, I'm happy being part of this brilliant show at the Alhambra."

* Cinderella runs at the Alhambra from December 16 to January 28. Call (01274) 432000.