A MAJOR new theatre production is to have a distinctly Darwen accent - thanks to an article in the Lancashire Telegraph.

Rebecca Hutchinson, 24, follows in the footsteps of Lancashire lasses Jane Horrocks and Diana Vickers with the leading role of the production of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Dukes Theatre, Lancaster.

And the play’s director will be Amy Leach, 29, who, like Rebecca, is a former pupil of St Cuthbert’s School.

Rebecca developed her love of musical theatre in school pantomimes and at Westholme’s drama studio in Blackburn.

She said: “My grandma Ethel Chadwick saw the appeal for an actress in the Lancashire Telegraph and was badgering me to apply.

“I was really keen to come and work back in the North West, where my family could come to watch, after a couple of years in London.”

After graduating from the Mount View Academy of Theatre Arts in London, Rebecca starred in a pantomime in Wakefield, a London production of the musical Once Upon a Time, and at the Edinburgh Festival in Jump.

In Little Voice, Jim Cartwright’s tale of a shy girl who disappears into music to escape the chaotic life of her fun-loving drunken mother, she is required to impersonate singing greats like Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Billie Holliday.

Rebecca said: “It’s taking a bit of practice, and I’ve got Shirley Bassey on a loop on my iPod at the moment, driving me mad!”

Amy, who was taught by Rebecca’s mum Lynn Hutchinson at St Cuthbert’s, lived in Peregrine Drive, Darwen, until she was 21, attending Durham University and the Royal National Theatre.

She now specialises in theatre involving young people.

She said: “We’ve got a really fantastic cast with lots of local connections.

"There’s such a buzz about this show.”

Rebecca added: “With all the Darwen influences, it’s certainly going to be an authentic production.”

Former Brookside actress Eithne Browne also stars in the show, which runs from March 24 to April 16.