WHY don’t you join the local theatre group?

It’s a question most of us have been asked at one time or another, usually after we’ve done something to suggest we might have what it takes to be a stage star.

We might have given a speech, or performed a song at a wedding reception, demonstrating a high level of charisma.

But all too often, whether it be shyness, a lack of confidence, or commitments relating to work or family, something stops us from joining up.

Now there is an opportunity for people across the district to work with one of the area’s leading organisations.

Hexham Amateur Stage Society (HASS) is putting on a series of workshops for everybody from complete beginners to those with previous stage experience.

The society’s members are specialists at what they do, having entertained and wowed audiences for decades with a wide variety plays, musicals, and concerts.

In recent years, they have brought the house down at the Queen’s Hall in Hexham, with exhilarating stagings of classics such as HMS Pinafore, Fiddler on the Roof, Sister Act, and Evita.

Their latest production, a stage version of the Sound of Music last November, was a major success, leading to rave reviews from critics, and widespread praise from audiences over all six showings.

Jude Long, who directed the Sound of Music, as well as the cast and other key players, are only too keen to pass on their skills to get more people on board.

Instead of signing up for a show, and attending related rehearsal sessions, the workshops offer an all-round introduction to HASS, without the pressure of preparing for a real-life performance.

The society’s Mari Watson said: “The workshops will allow people to experience how we work, meet the choreographers, directors and musical directors, learn new skills, and most importantly enjoy themselves.

“Each workshop is designed to introduce you to the varied types of music, singing and movement we undertake.”

There are various workshops, taking place every Wednesday evening at Hexham Community Centre, which will each run for six weeks.

The opening workshop, which began on January 8, and will run until February 12, is a musically themed offering, hosted by Jude and the society’s musical director, Clair Caris.

Those attending are working as a team as they learn choreography techniques for the upbeat and uplifting song We Beseech Thee by Stephen Schwartz.

The second workshop will take place from February 19 to March 25, with an emphasis on the music of the American composer Stephen Sondheim, who worked on Sweeney Todd, among other musicals.

Workshop three, from April 1 to May 6 will be a compilation of music titled Forever Motown featuring some of the favourite hits of the 1960s. More information can be obtained from the Hexham Amateur Stage Society page on Facebook.