SWINDON'S oldest amateur dramatics company performs its first production of the year next week.

After a successful return to the stage at The Arts Centre in Old Town, Swindon last November, The Western Players will be performing Philip Mackie's The Whole Truth from March 9 to 12.

The society was originally known as The Great Western Railway (Swindon) Mechanics Institute Amateur Theatrical Society and, although the group celebrated their centenary in 2004, research carried out later on suggests the society may actually have started in 1854.

Karen Evans said: "The aim of the society then as now is to bring entertainment to the people of Swindon & have fun doing it. We have around 40 to 50 members ranging in ages and talents - some just like to work backstage, others like to be in the limelight."

Some members even do both. Karen has been with the society since 1992, started out acting on stage and went on to direct two plays, be the stage manager twice and now often spends her Saturday mornings painting sets for the next show in the workshop .

She added: "We welcome everyone in whatever capacity they wish to participate, even if that’s just coming down to rehearsals and having a cup of tea and a natter, we have all sorts of roles that help keep us running and performing.

"We look forward to welcoming our wonderful audiences back at The Arts Centre in March for The Whole Truth, which takes a slightly different approach to the crime drama in that the audience is aware of the murderer early on and watches him try to shift the blame onto an innocent man.

"The suspect vainly attempts to struggle out of his web of deceit, trying to convince the police of the murderer’s guilt by using the only weapon he has – to tell the whole truth. A tautly written play which will bring the audience to the edge of their seats."

Tickets are available now for £12 full price or £10 concessions by emailing boxoffice@westernplayers.co.uk or by calling 07575 711522.