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A YOUTH theatre’s birthday celebrations have been buoyed by the support of some its former members.

The Footlight Youth Theatre is planning an evening of celebration to mark its 18th year of operation.

The Hartlepool-based charity offers opportunites to youngsters who have an interest in performing arts, providing them with the support and facilities to develop their skills.

Their celebratory plans were given a boost when former members David Carless, 35, Andy Oliver, 34, Lisa Noddings, 29, and Katie Orley (nee Barnes), 29, all agreed to return for the evening after leaving the theatre around 15 years ago.

They will be joined by a younger contingent which included Caroline Peddle, 19, Toni Elwin, 19, as well as Demi White, 17.

Paul Thompson, chairman and managing director of the theatre, said: It will be great to catch up with former members and see how their skills have developed over the years.”

The show, which will be held at Borough Hall, Hartlepool, on Saturday, March 24, will feature two performances, the first by current members and the second by the former members who have returned.

Bosses at the theatre, which is based within the premises of Hartlepool Families First, Greatham Street, Hartlepool, are also keen to mark the milestone with a digital display of photographs and other memorabilia on its website and it is appealing for old photos, newspaper cuttings or even programmes from some of its previous shows.

Doors open at 7pm and tickets cost £7 and are available by calling (01429) 867060.