A THEATRE group is casting for a new director as the imminent pitter patter of tiny feet means the current husband and wife team are stepping down from the role.

The Bethel Crowd drama group in Westhoughton is on the hunt for a new volunteer to direct its Beauty and the Beast pantomine show when 25-year-old Ben Kilburn steps aside in the autumn.

Wife Lisa, aged 27, is due to give birth on September 30, 10 days after their final show of Alice, which she has co-directed with Mr Kilburn.

The couple, who live in Westhoughton and are both primary school teachers in Wigan, are excited ahead of the birth of their first child, and have asked not to know the gender as they want the “surprise”.

Rehearsals for the pantomine start in September and the group, which stages shows at the United Reformed Church in Park Road, wants a new director in place by then.

Mr Kilburn said: “We have to step aside really. I have only just finished my first year in a new teaching job, which was a lot more work than I was doing before.

“We are both hoping the baby does not arrive during the Alice show as it would make things very difficult.”

A member of the group for 15 years, and director for the past six, Mr Kilburn has produced versions of Sweeney Todd, Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk and Sleep-ing Beauty. Mrs Kilburn became involved through her husband.

Mr Kilburn added: “It is amazing to see all your ideas appear on stage When you are sitting at the back of the hall at the end and the audience starts clapping, there is no feeling quite like it.”

To apply for the voluntary position, email bethelcrowd@outlook.com, and for tickets for Alice, which will be at the church on September 12, 13, 19 and 20, email bethelcrowd@ticketsource.co.uk.