A COMMUNITY drama group is issuing its first curtain call for budding panto stars as it begins work on a production powered by the people.

Wyke-based Act Up! – a community drama group for young people aged six to 14 – is bringing a panto for all to the village with free tickets for all children from BD12 and families using Wyke Food Bank.

Act Up! All Stars is the brainchild of Andrea Quantrill, a Bradford-born performing arts teacher and drama coach with a dream of people of all ages and abilities together through acting.

Act Up! will bring Dick Whittington to the stage next February, inspired by the historic success of acting groups in Wyke village.

Auditions are now open to budding actors, performers, musicians and people who fancy getting involved behind the scenes to come along and take part.

Act Up! All Stars meet every Friday evening during term-time, from 7.30-8.30pm in the theatre at Appleton Academy in Wyke. Group members pay £4 per session to cover the hire of the theatre; Act Up! is strictly not for profit and all teaching and coaching staff take part as volunteers.

Andrea said: "Panto is a longstanding British tradition but taking a family of four to see a professional show can cost around £100 and even amateur shows can cost around £50, it’s just not affordable for every family, especially around Christmas time when there are other things to pay for.

"Theatre should be something everyone can enjoy, so we’re working hard to make sure everyone can come along.

"I’ve taught drama professionally for 14 years but wanted to make sure people of all backgrounds had the chance to take part outside of formal education - a way to push back against professional stage schools whose costs are often restrictive for families on low incomes.

"The group isn’t based on your acting prowess, it’s firmly based around a fun and interactive approach to getting young people involved in all things theatre. Since we set-up Act Up! we have seen our young actors grow in confidence and playing around with acting has so many benefits; allowing people to make new friends, feel comfortable in their own skin and try something new."

The group is also looking for sponsors so it can fulfil its ambition of making this people-powered panto accessible to everyone. Local bar snacks firm Mr Scratchings of Low Moor are already signed up as is Slimming World. New community radio station, Wyke Village Radio, is involved as is the Exceed Academy Trust, of which Appleton Academy is a member.

Sponsorship is being used to fund the hire of the theatre for the performance as well as props and costumes.

Rehearsals will begin in early October. All ages are welcome.

You can find out more by visiting @actupdramaclub on Facebook or by contacting Andrea by emailing actupdramaclub@gmail.com.