EXCITED performing arts students are preparing to hit the West End in style once the final pandemic restrictions end.

Rehearsals are well underway for Pauline Quirke Academy's musical comedy show Trouble's A-Brewin' which will be held at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London.

PQA has two Swindon academies with students aged six to 18 - one is performing on September 26 and the other will tread the boards a week later on October 3.

Principal Dee Thompson is looking forward to seeing her students experience the thrills of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

She said: "I am so proud of all of our students. After such a long break with lockdown, it’ll be amazing to see them back on such a brilliant stage again.

Choreographer Beth Cooper added: "The students have blown us all away with their hard work and dedication to the show.

"It is really incredible just how talented these young people are. I cannot wait to see them on the stage!’’

The musical theatre show is set in the wild west and written specially for PQA to perform. In this professionally produced production, the students get to experience everything a West End theatre has to offer, from the stage door to the dressing rooms and, of course, performing on stage.

Then on the day of the show, they spend a full day at the theatre rehearsing on-stage with professional lighting, sound and set design.

When showtime finally arrives, the students will perform in the evening in front of their friends and family, stepping under the bright lights, the roar of the crowd, it doesn’t get any better than this!

Director Nicki Rochford said: "The west end is such an amazing chance for our students to work across the groups. It really does make everyone feel like a family, working together to achieve one goal.

"The day itself is exhausting but incredible. The kids come out of it with such big smiles and happy memories. It really will be wonderful for them all to be back on a stage together.

Student Erin Hanks, 13, said: "The atmosphere is incredible already so I can only imagine what it will be like at the West End."

Her 16-year-old classmate Katherine Howell added: "The rehearsals for Trouble's a-Brewin' are going really well and it is a lot of fun putting the scenes together.

"I'm excited to perform in the West End again as it is a magical experience I have missed. I can’t wait to perform with everyone again."

PQA Swindon is at Swindon Academy, with classes in musical theatre, comedy and drama, and film and TV.