STANDING proud in the city centre, the Theatre Royal Winchester is celebrating 100 years by teaming up with local school pupils.

The Oral History Project, which has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will see pupils from nine local primary and secondary schools produce short films to collate the personal memories of those who have had close involvement with the theatre over the years.

Pupils from St Bede, John Keble, Winnall and Kings Worthy primary schools, and The Clere School, Osborne, Westgate and Henry Beaufort secondary schools will work with Strong Island Media to shoot and edit the ten one-minute long films.

Jo Hennessy, Outreach Officer at the Theatre, said the project has kicked off successfully.

“We are in the filming stage at the moment,” she said.

“It’s great because you see the kids holding a great big camera and their face is full of joy.

“We have children from Year Two all the way up to Year Ten so there will be a variety of different films.”

When the building first opened as a theatre in 1914 it operated as a cine-variety – a mixture of live performances and screenings, and is the only one in the country that has survived in its original state.

The project hopes to revive this historical way of entertaining, as well as involve the local community in celebrating its centenary.

Ms Hennessy said: “Plenty of documented history on the theatre exists, but no-one has yet captured what the theatre means to the community in a wider context.

“The Oral History Project will enable the students to record the public’s memories, experiences and opinions of the theatre, using filming and interviewing techniques.”

The theatre will be holding a gala event in September to showcase the films, interjected with live performances.