SWINDON musical drama group Stage Struck has a long and distinguished history in the town and now the next generation have taken over the reigns with a new production.

The Cast Of Stage Struck (TCOSS) have bounced back to do their own thing, following the departure of Geoff Marsh and Jane Osbourne, who led the theatre company through years of successful shows.

Today’s musical theatre group is officially a society with its own constitution. This month the curtain rises on the first production by TCOSS called With A Little Help From Our Friends.

Grace Matthews, one of the stalwarts of the original Stage Struck, and now a leading light in TCOSS, said: “With A Little Help From Our Friends was the obvious choice as title for our first show, because everyone had pulled together to ensure that we were able to continue, and we found ourselves being inundated with offers of support from our friends and family, without them it really would not have been possible.’’

TCOSS has a membership of 32, from young singers of 11 years old to veteran comedy actor Ken Jell, a well-known face on the Swindon stage.

Hannah Western is the show's choreographer for this show and Grace says she is certainly putting the company through their dance paces.

“It’s been a challenge, particularly on warm summer evenings but we get there, or so at least she tells us,’’ said Grace.

This show aims to give the up and coming teenagers a boost with Haydn Minns and Caitlin MacCay taking centre stage.

Caitlin is the daughter of Michelle MacCay, another long term member of the original musical group, who will be treading the boards alongside her offspring.

“But we have tried really hard to involve the whole company,’’ said Grace. “It’s a group effort.’’ Andrew Pysanzyn is the musical director of TCOSS, another known name in Swindon music circles and beyond.

“Andre is a musical genius,’’ said Grace. “His 's ability to listen to our non-technical descriptions of what we want and turn it into a musical masterpiece is astounding.’’

A new direction for TCOSS, alongside new look shows, In addition to new-look shows, TCOSS is to perform in residential and care homes.

“It is something that we used to do a lot when Vera Bennett originally established Stage Struck, and something the entire cast was keen to revisit when we wrote the constitution, and we have already undertaken a number of engagements as part of Voluntary Arts Week,’’ said Grace.

With A Little Help From Our Friends is at The Swindon Arts Centre, Devizes Road, Old Town from Friday, September 18 to Saturday, September 19 at 7.30pm and 2.30pm matinee on the Saturday. Tickets are £11 and £9 concessions from 07769 466371.