LIGHTS, camera, action! It’s curtains up for Chris Thornton, who has just set up his own performing arts group at the age of 19.

Motivated by his own passion for acting, the former St David’s High School pupil from Saltney Ferry has created the Flintshire Young Performers (FYP) group for eight to 16-year-olds.

The members, who are taught singing, dancing and acting, are working hard ahead of their first variety performance, Kids in Broadway, at Clwyd Theatr Cymru in Mold in July.

Chris, who worked at the Blue Planet Aquarium in Ellesmere Port before his venture took off, coaches about 40 youngsters, but is hoping to recruit many more.

He told the Leader: “I set up this group because I am passionate about performing arts and I thought it would be a great way to get young people off the streets.

“There are not that many stage schools in the area where kids can get training, plus they can be very expensive and it is a pain for parents to drive their children half-way across the country.

“It has taken a lot of time and energy to get it set up, but it is done now and I’m really excited to get started.”

Chris, who studied drama and performing arts for A-level, has been a member of the Broughton Amateur Dramatic Group for the past four years.

He is flanked by accomplished singer Charlotte Croft, 20, who has just been signed by radio presenter Terry Underhill, and 20 year-old dancer Josh Donovan, a member of The Hammond School in Chester.

The trio, who coach the FYP twice weekly, are teaching young performers songs from the hit West End musicals, Hairspray, Wicked, We Will Rock You, Legally Blonde and Bugsy Malone.

The FYP meets on Tuesdays from 6.30pm-9.30pm and on Saturdays from 1-4pm at Broughton and Bretton Community Centre.

There is a one-off membership fee of £10 and each session is £3.

An open evening takes places tonight at Broughton and Bretton Community Centre on Brookes Avenue from 6.30pm.

Call Chris on 07554292333 or search ‘Flintshire Young Performers’ on Facebook for more information.

- CHRIS will fly to Kenya this summer with aid agency Camps International.

His five-week trip will be spent building shelters and teaching English and he is appealing to local businesses to sponsor his trip.

Call him on 07554292333 for more details.