UP-and-coming Chorley actress Gemma Hodkinson is reaching further than the sky for her next stage role -- she's taking the lead in a production of Return To The Forbidden Planet!

Gemma, 19, of Preston Road, Chorley, is set to star as Miranda in the hit show at Preston's Charter Theatre next month to raise money for St Catherine's Hospice, Lostock Hall.

Return To The Forbidden Planet -- described as Shakespeare's forgotten rock and roll masterpiece -- is based on the 1950s film Forbidden Planet, but is a much more colourful and camped-up affair than the original B-movie.

Loosely based on the Bard's The Tempest, it features a variety of rock 'n' roll classics such as Good Vibrations and Great Balls Of Fire and parodies many of Shakespeare's most famous scenes.

St Catherine's The Charity Players are staging the show in conjunction with theatre company Seriously Entertaining, and Gemma said she can't wait to get stuck into her role as Miranda. She said: "My character is the daughter of the mad scientist Prospero and the romance comes courtesy of the captain of the spaceship whom I fall in love with.

"One of my favourite bits is when I transform myself into Marilyn Monroe in an attempt to impress the captain."

Although she currently works as a civil servant in Warrington, Gemma said she would love to sing and act full time.

"I attended Upstage, the young people's theatre in Euxton, and used to have singing lessons so I've always been interested in performing.

John Nickson, appeals manager for St Catherine's, said: "Gemma represents a prime example of some of the young talent we have in the area and she helps make this a great, fun-packed show."

Return To The Forbidden Planet will be showing at The Charter Theatre from Wednesday, May 2, until Saturday, May 5, at 7.30pm.

Tickets, costing £5 for the Wednesday performance and £7.50 at all other times, are available by calling the box office on 01772 258858.

STARS: Gemma with Matthew Seed who plays Cookie.