A COUNTRY house hotel will be under the spotlight this month as it embarks on a new act in its history.

The Oaklands Hotel, in Gorstage, is hosting three days of professional theatre with a production of Educating Rita starring some famous faces.

Former Brookside actors Michael J Jackson, who played Ollie Simpson, and Suzanne Collins, who played Nikki Chadwick, will be taking to the stage as Frank and Rita in Willy Russell’s well-loved play.

Mallie Poulton, marketing manager for the hotel, said: “We do such a lot of things at The Oaklands but this is possibly the most nerve-racking thing we’ve ever done.

“It’s the first time an English country house hotel has had professional theatre in one of its function suites.”

The play is costing the hotel £20,000 to put on in its Willows Suite, which can accommodate audiences of 200 people.

There will be evening performances on August 27, 28 and 29 with a charity matinee on August 27 and an extra matinee on August 29 by popular demand.

A pre-theatre carvery will whet the appetites of guests before the evening shows and rat pack duo Lazy River will make sure after show parties go with a swing each night.

Mallie said: “We’re blessed with amateur theatre in mid Cheshire but there is a need for professional theatre – we saw a niche in the market and a chance to fulfill the need of Cheshire theatregoers.

“When all’s said and done we have to make ends meet and have to diversify to get another string to our bow, as well as being a country house hotel with a pub.

“We’re not going to go anywhere near drawing even but it’s the kudos of having the play here – the West End comes to mid Cheshire.”

For tickets, priced £20 for evening performances, £10 for matinee and £8.50 for the charity preview, ring 01606 853249 or 01928 734884.