A WIRRAL theatre company is through to the finals of a televised search for the nation’s best amateur dramatic group.
FissiParous Theatre are one of eight finalists in Nation’s Best Am Dram, which starts on Sky Arts HD tonight (Wednesday).
Viewers will see the groups battle it out to be crowned Britain’s best and win the chance to perform on a West End stage.
Each group worked with a mentor to hone their theatrical skills before a performance in front of a judging panel made up of actress Miriam Margolyes, producer Bill Kenwright and theatre critic Quentin Letts.
FissiParous had a masterclass with Olivier award-winning actor Roger Allam, whose credits include The Jury, The Thick of It and Ashes to Ashes.
Other mentors in the show – claimed to be the first of its kind for the world of amateur theatre – include Niamh Cusack, Dame Harriet Walker, Jill Halfpenny and Martin Shaw.
Group co-founder Janet Blizard, from Greasby, said: “Roger was amazing, he really was.
“He’s a very unassuming guy. I hadn’t actually heard of him and we had to Google him.
“Now everything I watch he seems to be in it! He’s a very prestigious actor.
“He gave us guidance on delivery and thinking more about character. More than anything, he inspired us.”
FissiParous – the name means to break-up into parts or break away from something – was established in 2010.
Its six founders decided to leave the amateur dramatic group they performed with to form their own company and put on more challenging plays.
FissiParous arrived on the am dram scene with a bang, winning this year’s British All Winners Festival in Guernsey – and the audience appreciation award – with their first production, Stones in his Pockets by Marie Jones.
They auditioned for Nation’s Best Am Dram with The Bear by Chekhov.
Although the smallest group in the competition, FissiParous have vast experience, with almost 100 productions between the group’s members.
Janet is staying tight-lipped about their experiences until the six-part show is broadcast.
“We are all equal,” she stresses. “We took part in the show as a team.
“It was interesting to find out how reality television worked.
“I always used to wonder how people on Big Brother could say: “I forget the cameras are there”, but you really do.”
Nation's Best Am Dram starts on Sky Arts HD tonight (November 14) at 9pm.