THE actors were nervous as the auditorium filled up.

There was just enough time for last-minute rehearsals before they took to the stage.

Children from Clarendon Primary School in Clarendon Street, Great Lever, had been learning how to create their own theatre production for weeks, and this was their big night.

The youngsters were among the first in the country to take part in a new Government-backed skills scheme and worked with the Octagon Theatre to learn every aspect of how a theatre worked, including writing, performance, production and marketing. The culmination of their work was a performance and presentation in front of a delighted audience of parents and teachers.

The children came up with storylines for plays and even designed the theatre building where it might be performed.

They made models of their imaginary theatres in class, then displayed them to their parents before the show on Wednesday.

Despite some last-minute nerves, everything went smoothly.

Pupil Faiza Patel, aged 10, said: “It was brilliant, everything I hoped for. I had stage fright, but it actually turned out pretty good.”

The plays included a story about a boy who could fly, a young lad who had to decide between his love of theatre and his love of football, and a child who did not want to move to France with his foster parents.

At the end of the show, all the children were presented with certificates in an Oscars-style award ceremony.

Headteacher Naomi Richardson said: “This is a very exciting project, and we’re the first primary school in Bolton to be asked to do it.

“We hope this will be used as a model for other schools across the country, and they will be able to do all the fabulous things that we’ve been doing.”