Young performers were left stunned after it was announced a theatre group is closing – just minutes after the curtain came down on its latest show.
Our Lady Star of the Sea Youth Theatre in St Annes has seen hundreds of youngsters take to the stage in its productions since being formed in 1996.
But, with several key players set to move on after turning 18, director Michelle Cuffe has decided to call it a day after also becoming frustrated at problems with availability of cast members for the company’s latest production.
Cast and company were told the shock news after the final curtain fell on the Youth Theatre’s performance of Grease in front of a packed house at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish Centre on Saturday.
The show, which ran for four performances, had to be put back from the company’s usual February slot because cast members were committed to other productions.
Michelle said: “I suppose we have been a victim of our own success.
“We have had real problems finding a date for this show to suit everyone and with so many long-time members set to move on anyway because of their age, I felt it was time to call it a day.
“I was sorry to have to make the decision and perhaps I underestimated how upset they would be but there are so many other commitments for them these days.”
The Youth Theatre, featuring performers aged from 10 to 18, resulted from a former youth club at Our Lady Star of the Sea and has staged musicals ranging from Oliver! and Annie to Calamity Jane and The Wizard of Oz, frequently to great acclaim.
Lucy Smith, 18, the 2011 Fylde’s Got Talent winner, has been involved with the company for seven years and has choreographed their past two productions.
She said: “It is such a shame that there won’t be any more productions.
“I have so many happy memories of my time in Youth Theatre.”
Owen Broughton, 15, who played his first lead role for Youth Theatre in Grease and has represented England at tap dancing, added: “That was my last production anyway because I am going away to college in September, but it was pretty devastating news.
“A lot of people were stunned when they heard. I have been involved for five years and it has been great.”