A LEADING actress celebrated with budding young performers at the first birthday celebration of her Bury theatre school.

Emma Matthews, who starred as Vicki in Prisoner’s Wives, launched Theatre Works last year with fellow actress and dancer Lauren Bateman.

The pair offer coaching in acting, show work, acting for camera, dance and singing for children aged three to 18 at Bury Parish Church.

Earlier this month, Theatre Works held an awards ceremony at Playfootball in Bury to congratulate their young performers.

Emma, who has also had parts in Coronation Street, Casualty, Shameless and Emmerdale, and has performed in the West End, at Bolton Octagon and the Oldham Coliseum, said Theatre Works “has grown so much”.

She said: “We have performed two shows at The Met in Bury, raising £260 for the wonderful Joshua Wilson Brain Tumour Charity.

“Our children also successfully auditioned and performed for The Met’s Christmas show, The Secret Garden. Due to demand from leading casting directors, we recently opened a casting agency and the kids have had great auditions for numerous television shows.

“They also had a TV acting workshop with the beautiful and talented star of Emmerdale, Sammy Winward.”

At the awards ceremony, all children were given a certificate and plaque, with Molly Serridge receiving the senior award and Elizabeth Smithies awarded the junior prize.

Theatre Works is now opening two more schools, in Little Lever and Sharples, Bolton. Emma added: “This year we will be performing at the Blackpool Opera House — with a capacity of more than 3,000 seats. This is one of the biggest theatres in the UK and it will be a huge honour.

“Then, in November, we are producing our own exciting modern-day version of The Wizard of Oz at The Met.”

Classes take place between 1.30pm and 2.30pm for youngsters and between 2.30pm and 5.30pm for older children, and cost £5 per hour.

For more information: call Emma on 07773 214380, search Theatre Works School Bury on Facebook or follow @Theatreworksuk on Twitter.