Rising from the ashes of the Lechlade Memorial Hall, that burned down last year, comes a new theatrical venture.

Six fire crews from Fairford, Cirencester, Faringdon, Burford and Cricklade battled the fire, and an aerial appliance was rushed from Cheltenham, but the much loved community hall was gutted, and along with it equipment and papers belonging to local theatre company, The Lechlade Players.

The actors were left with no rehearsal or performance space until the insurance money was sorted out and a new hall built.

"We had productions in the pipeline and couldn't wait the two or three years for the new hall to be built,'' said John Williams, actor, director and drama coach based in Lechlade.

So John teamed up with Andy Pritchard, another leading light from the local drama group, to form a hastily pulled together committee.

Andy said: "I had just directed an award-winning production of Chekhov’s The Proposal, which reached the semi-finals of the All England Theatre Festival. We’d already agreed to perform a charity performance of this at the Trout in Lechlade. So less than three weeks after the fire, we were performing to a sell-out audience in the marquee behind the pub, squeezing our performance on to a tiny, makeshift stage and illuminated by a borrowed set of lights.''

The show was such a success they decided to try and get the pub onboard with the idea of turning his marquee into a theatre. The landlord was enthusiastic so Theatre In The Trout was born.

A new stage was constructed in time for the production of Mixed Doubles, a Fedeau farce that was again a total sell-out, but the theatre was still in the process of being created.

"We then invested in equipment, LED lighting, staging and tiered cinema seating we found on the internet from Hereford,'' said John.

The revamp and running of the theatre was led by Andy and John and funded by Arts in Lechlade, a donation from the will of Rosie Bell, one of the founders of the Lechlade Players, the Lechlade Lions Club and the players themselves.

The actors are regular participants in the All England Theatre Festival and won an armful of awards at the One Act Play Festival including The Dreaming with John as the director, and Andy notched up the Best Actor award for playing Prospero in a scene from The Tempest.

Andy will again be treading the marquee boards as The Theatre In The Trout plays host to a new production of Neil Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers from October 20 to October 21 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 and supper for an extra £8 is available from 6pm, visit: ticketsource.co.uk/lechladeplayers - Flicky Harrison