AN 85-year-old programme has been handed to Blackburn Musical Theatre Company as it prepares to celebrate its centenary year.

Committee members were approached by Stanley Whittaker from Rossendale, who had kept a copy of the programme for the 1936 production of The Student Prince by what was then known as Blackburn Amateur Dramatic and Musical Society.

Alongside the programme itself, a thick booklet containing cast listings, photographs and adverts, Stanley had also uncovered a cutting from the Northern Daily Telegraph – featuring 10 caricatures of the principal cast.

Stanley said: “It’s been in my family since 1936 as my uncle was in the cast, but I thought the Amateurs might like it for their archives.”

Next year, the Amateurs – now known as Blackburn Musical Theatre Company, will celebrate its centenary year with a production of Carousel at Thwaites Empire Theatre in May.

Chairman Gary Worthy said: “This is a great find for us, especially as we are making plans for our hundred years in 2012.

“We’d like to invite any past members of the company to get in touch to help us celebrate at some special events we have lined up.

“After the centenary production of Carousel, there will be a black tie gala event in the summer and then in October we are staging a review show – in which we hope to feature some of our former stars.

“We have such a long and very proud heritage, and many members have gone on to enjoy professional success on the stage, so we invite them and any other past members join us next year.

“And, of course, if anyone else has any wonderful mementoes such as Stanley’s programme we would be love to see them.”

n Call or email BMTC secretary Tony Fry on 07735 584560 or to register your interest in the centenary celebrations.