CORONATION Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh was among the audience watching Bolton College’s performing arts students’ modern take on Brecht’s 1944 play The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

The play centres on a revolution in a mythical city, and explores the issues of injustice and social inequality.

Russell Lane, curriculum leader for performing arts, said: “When I first thought of directing the play, my head was filled with the daily news images of the crisis in Syria, and it struck me that Brecht’s play was not a throwback to a bygone age, but a vital and relevant piece of work that touches lives today.

“As rehearsals began, the situation in Ukraine began to unfold and this shone further light on why it was important to produce the play.”

Julie, who played Hayley in the hit soap, said: “I’m absolutely blown away by the students’ professionalism, commitment and vocal ability.

"I love this play as well, and it was great to see it done in the traditional way.”

The play was staged at Bolton Parish Church Hall and students from the arts and design course as well as hair and media make-up course were enlisted to help create the minimalist effect.

Level three performing arts students Ryan Kerfoot, aged 19, who played soldier Simon Shashava, said: “To get this opportunity to perform in front of industry professionals is absolutely brilliant.

"The fact that there are agents in the audience is pretty good for a college experience.”

Cllr John Walsh, church warden, said: “We were more than happy to offer the space for the Level 3 learners’ performance, as we’re trying to get the church used more by the community.”

The play ends tonight. Tickets £5 from