A theatre school set up during the pandemic by two professional actors is primed for its first performance since forming. 

Swindon-based Georgie Ashford has starred in a variety of different shows, including Legally Blonde, A Chorus Line, Anything Goes, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and Showboat. 

During the pandemic, she felt that, along with her partner Linford Johnson, who himself has worked in theatre and television, she wanted to bring some of that West End magic to the town so they ran a performing arts summer school which has now evolved into a permanent business. 

Now, two years later, the first group of students, aged between 3-16, are getting ready for the school's first public performance - a play called Tiny Tim's Christmas Carol - at The Deanery School on Saturday, December 17. 

In the story, adapted by Ken and Jack Ludwig, the titular character is determined to have his father home for Christmas day even if it means teaching Ebenezer Scrooge a lesson in Christmas cheer.

"In August 2020, when the country was suffering at the height of the pandemic, we had a brief window where businesses were allowed to re-open. We decided this would be the perfect moment to start a new business," Georgie said. 

"Two years later and Esprit Performing Arts has gone from strength to strength, albeit through some difficult times for everyone and now our students are going to be performing our first public show.

This Is Wiltshire: Georgie AshfordGeorgie Ashford (Image: Georgie Ashford)

"We are so excited about this landmark event for us. This will be many of our students' first time performing in a theatre. It's a huge achievement, especially after some very uncertain years that have especially affected young people."

Georgie added that she has seen the school make a huge difference in the students, but also for her as well, after such a difficult period of time during the lockdown, especially for performers like her. 

"The growth in confidence we have seen has been remarkable, and the re-adjustment to life closer to what we knew before has been a process, and we are just happy to have helped our students in this transition.

"And for us, this is a landmark event for other reasons too. Having started a new business at such an uncertain time, when human contact and community felt so limited, we are absolutely overjoyed to be able to share our students' hard work in a public setting and start the Christmas holidays with a joyful celebration."

The performance will take place at The Deanery Academy, Wichelstowe, on December 17, 12pm.

Tickets can be found here - https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/booking/select/RdiEJKhzXNnT.

This Is Wiltshire: Rehearsals for Tiny Tim's Christmas Carol, the first public show from new Swindon theatre school Espirt Performing ArtsRehearsals for Tiny Tim's Christmas Carol, the first public show from new Swindon theatre school Espirt Performing Arts (Image: Georgie Ashford)