A WINCHESTER youth theatre has announced Oscar-winning actor, Colin Firth as its first patron.

TV’s most famous Mr Darcy, Colin Firth is to become patron of ENCORE Youth Theatre.

Award winning ENCORE Youth Theatre is Winchester’s only youth theatre specialising in musical theatre.

ENCORE is a Community Interest Company and all adult supporters, many of whom work in the professional theatre, give their time for nothing more than the love of, and a commitment to, the ethos of the company.

Colin Firth, was born in Hampshire, grew up in Winchester and went to Montgomery of Alamein Secondary, now Kings’ School, and Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, said: “I am delighted to accept the role of ENCORE's patron."

Noël Jones, ENCORE Youth Theatre’s artistic director said: “It is a real honour for us to welcome Colin Firth as patron. Our main ethos as always is to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for young people to explore and develop their love for the theatre. We feel that with the addition of Colin, we are able to expose the fantastic talent that is available in Winchester and the surrounding areas, and highlight the level that can be achieved through hard-work and dedication”.

As well as performing on-stage, members have the chance to get involved behind the scenes by becoming part of our youth committee. They help run the company in areas such as production, marketing, fundraising and finance.

Auditions are held in July and rehearsals take place every Sunday from September until February. Production Week is at the Theatre Royal Winchester during February half term.

ENCORE Youth Theatre are currently looking for enthusiastic, talented and unique young people (aged 11-18) to join the company for its next show, Fiddler on the Roof, performing at the Theatre Royal Winchester in February 2018.

An information evening about ENCORE and the audition process for Fiddler on the Roof takes place on Thursday May 25, 7pm - 9pm, at The Tower, Kings’ School, Winchester. Auditions will take place at the same venue on Sunday July 2 and Sunday July 9, 10am - 5pm. Those auditioning must attend both dates.