Performances from the Wyvern Theatre’s Summer Youth Project starts tonight.

Around 140 aspiring young performers and technicians, aged between nine and 22, are taking part in the project that lasts for two weeks, ending in five performances of the full-scale production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Nyree Kingsbury, production manager of the show, said: “The youth project has been going for 22 years and it’s a two week project each year, so we started on August 11.

“We’ve got 140 children who take part in the show both on stage or in the technical aspects.

“They come in on day one really knowing nothing but they work with a team of professionals who help them with the music, choreography and even a live band.

“They’ve been rehearsing intensely the past 10 days and we’re hoping it will build a lot of confidence for all of them.

“It’s an opportunity to learn about how the industry works as well as building friendships with the other kids and interacting with each other socially.”

Nyree added: “Each person gets their own character that we go through with them, they each build it up and make it their own rather than them just coming in, doing a role and then leaving.

“It’s really a whole rounded experience.

“They’ve been working really hard, rehearsals start at 10am and often don’t finish until 6pm so that’s a lot more than what these kids are used to. It’s more than most workdays.

“Tickets do sell out fast, once people see the first show they see how much work the kids have put in and it’s really inspiring how much they can achieve in 10 days.”

Kimmy Shopland, who plays the Childcatcher, said: "This is my third Summer Youth Project, but my first principal role. It’s exciting to play a scary part, because I’m often type cast as the comedy character as I’m quite small and petite. I love doing SYP because everyone is so supportive and it’s a fun environment to be in. Everyone has worked so hard, and it’s amazing when people come to watch us.”

Applications for next years Summer Youth Project open after Christmas with Wyvern encouraging youngsters to come along to a performance of Chitty to see what they could expect next year.

The first performance of the show is tonight at 7.30pm and will be every night until August 24.

Tickets are available at or by calling the ticket office on 01793 524481