FOUR elderly people with no prior experience of acting but some experience of knitting could soon become stars of the stage.

Oxford Playhouse are looking for four people over the age of 70 to become part of the cast for its upcoming run of Rumpelstiltskin.

No prior acting experience is needed and they would be put through their paces in an informal workshop run by award-winning dance company Ballet Lorent.

The Beaumont Street theatre team said experience of wool winding or knitting was 'preferable' and that participants needed to be able to walk unaided for 20 feet - giving clues as to what the role might entail.

Carolyn Lloyd-Davies, who has been running a not-for-profit theatre company aimed at getting older people into playwriting and production, said it would be hugely beneficial in tackling loneliness.

Her Living the Drama company, in partnership with AGE UK, has improved inclusivity for the elderly and she said the Playhouse scheme would have a similar impact.

She said: "It's a brilliant idea - I find that people don't like to say they are lonely and don't like to give themselves that label.

"A production team is a real community, there's lots of friendships made as well as the opportunity to be part of creating something.

"It's about inclusion and being part of a community."

She added: "It can be really good for people and it gets them using their energy and minds.

"They may not have experience in theatre but they have experience of the dramas of life and they have all that to draw on."

Ballet Lorent, after its award-winning Rapunzel and Snow White productions, has teamed up with poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy to retell the fairytale Rumpelstiltskin in the form of dance-theatre.

The production - narrated by actor Ben Crompton from BBC sketch show Man Strokes Woman - has received impressive reviews since it opened at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London at the end of last month.

There are 20 spaces available on the informal workshop from which four over-70s will be selected.

The workshop will contain a short film, a seated warm up and creating rhythmic movements with wool in small groups.

There will also be a chance to try on costumes - designed by Game of Thrones costume designer Michele Clapton who has worked on the production.

The theatre's press and marketing officer, Ellie Harman, said it was a 'one-off' performance opportunity.

She said: "No previous dance or performance experience is necessary, but an experience of wool winding and knitting is preferable.

"The workshop will involve an introduction to the project (including a short film), a seated warm up to music, creating rhythms of movement with wool and raffia in small groups, and the opportunity to try on costumes."

The workshop will take place on May 18 at Oxford Playhouse from 2-4.30pm.

To book a place or have an informal chat about the project email or call Paul Simpson on 01865 305366.