NICOLA Dodd, who has run Spotlight Drama for nine years, is to become the artistic director of a new venture, the not-for-profit Spotlight Drama Youth Theatre.

Even before auditions have taken place, the National Theatre have expressed an interest in the new group.

They have invited the new company to join their National Theatre Connections programme, which offers a partnership with selected youth theatres around the country.

Nicola, from Barkers Lane, Sale, has been invited to attend a directors’ training weekend in London with the National Theatre in October.

Nicola, 44, said: “I have chosen two new plays from a pack of ten and the National Theatre will decide which one we can perform.

“What is so exciting is that our theatre group will be offered a space to perform in a Manchester theatre and the final week of rehearsals will be assisted by a director from the National Theatre.”

Prior to the big performance, the group will appear in a Trafford theatre.

To ‘break-in’ the 8 – 18-year-old actors, the new company will perform a showcase in November.

“We won’t be putting on musicals,” said Nicola.

“We will just present straight plays and we want dedicated students to apply.”

Auditions will take place on Monday, September 17 and Monday, September 24 at St Albans Church Hall, Broadheath, Altrincham.

Applicants will be asked to take part in a group activity and perform a monologue of their choice.

They will be assessed by Nicola and Claudia Haley, a performer and theatre director.

Non-performing applicants will be interviewed for arts, costume design, sound and lighting skills.

If successful, they will join the new youth theatre group in October.

Rehearsals will take place at St Albans Church Hall on Monday, September 17 and Monday, September 24 between 4.30pm and 6.00pm for under 13s.

Over 13s are invited to audition on the same days between 5.30pm and 7.30pm.

* For a timed audition, contact