THIS year sees Idle and Thackley Theatre Group celebrating 90 years of putting on popular amateur shows, and the society’s junior section - Itkids - looks set to take it well into the future.

The next production from Itkids is 21st Century Oz, a modern adaptation of much-loved classic, The Wizard of Oz.

The show - which kicks off the society’s 90th anniversary celebrations - sees the Dorothy character, now called Gail Henkle, transported into the land of Oz, as in the original story. She sets out to find her way home, with some help from the Munchkins, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion.

That is where the similarities end. Unlike the original, where Dorothy is transported to the magical land of Oz via a tornado, this imaginative re-telling sees the heroine, Gail, (played by talented youngster Hollie Dutton) running away from home, only to find herself in an accident. Knocked unconscious, she wakes up in a dystopian version of Oz, where the Munchkins are far from nice and cute, the flying monkeys are prima-donnas, Toto the dog is now The Yellowbrick Sat Nav System, and the Emerald City is more like a stock exchange than a shiny green castle...

Not just satisfied with emulating the 1930s classic, writer and drama tutor David Ayres has updated the story, turning it into a musical and technical feast for the eyes. Modern day pop songs by artists such as Rag n Bone, Paramore and Paloma Faith and lively numbers from hit movie The Greatest Showman are fused together with videos, which interact with the live action on stage throughout the show.

"The Itkids has gone from strength to strength, with pupils gaining valuable experience on stage and in front of the camera," says Dave. "This is reflected in Oz, where there are many filmed sections which the kids have worked on. From working on set, I've seen their confidence in front of the camera explode, many students have shown a real talent for screen acting. IT Kids is open to new students. We put a lot of emphasis on keeping classes and shows as diverse and enjoyable as possible, maintaining the fun atmosphere we've become known for.

* 21st Century Oz runs at The Little Theatre, Malt Shovel Yard, Idle, from June 22-24. Visit or call 07950 578920.