A WORLD premiere of a new work by a BAFTA-winning writer will herald the return of a community theatre.

The Theatre Royal in Ramsbottom has been closed for 17 months, like many other venues, due to the pandemic.

But the Summerseat Players, which runs the Smithy Street landmark, has lined up Flying Ducks, by Tim Whitnall, for a grand return.

Tim won his BAFTA for Best Possible Taste: The Kenny Everett story and is eagerly awaiting the show’s September 4 launch.

He said: “I chose to open my new play in Ramsbottom because they did incredibly well with my one-act play, The Sociable Plover and my full length play, Morecambe.”

The productions resulted in a raft of awards for the theatre company.

Tim added: “Just about all of my plays have started out small. I like to think I am giving something back to grass roots theatre and of course it’s also a valuable way of experimenting and improving.”

Andrea Parle, a players regular, will direct the run and has met with Tim to fine tune the production.

She said: “I feel truly honoured to be asked to produce and direct this world premiere. Thanks to Tim for involving me in the project. It’s one of my life’s bucket list, pinch yourself moments”.

Ahead of the reopening, the theatre has undergone a deep clean and there will be sanitising stations and masks on hand.

The capacity will be limited to 50 per cent, rising to 75 per cent, as a social distancing precaution, after trustees took advice from the Bury HR agency Embrace.

Rehearsals have also seen the seven-strong cast maintain social distancing and take care of their own wardrobe and make-up.

Before the premiere, the theatre will stage a trial run for their new measures on August 29 with the viewing of a series of competition-winning monologues.

The brainchild of production director Stephen Davies, more than 300 entries were received. Audio from several runners-up will also be relayed on the night.

Flying Ducks will run until September 11. For tickets the visit the Summerseat Players website. Five more productions are scheduled as well as a season for their successful youth theatre.