Currently headed up by TV presenter Jonas Hurst, The Hurst Children’s Theatre Group is an enterprising outfit. Originally set up by Jonas’ grandmother, the group has been entertaining audiences for more than 50 years and each theatre age group is still run by a member of the Hurst family.

Over the past six years, since the company has settled in St Albans, demand has rocketed to the extent they were even asked to perform at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Party. “The kids loved it,“ recalls Jonas. “It was a great experience. We’re always looking for new adventures.“

The group’s latest show, Strictly No Talent Factor, features children aged from three to 16. Jonas says structure is the key when dealing with such a diverse range of ages.

“We have about 400 children across all of our classes but they are divided into different performances. Logistically it’s hard work but they all love it so much, any work involved is totally worth it. They get so much out of it and it’s nice for them to have something to work towards.
“The young ones are great. They feel almost no pressure when things go wrong and that almost adds to the affection the audience has for them. They have boundless energy and enthusiasm.“

The show marks the return of HCTG’s favourite fictional character Harry Slime.
“Harry is a music business agent/manager who first showed up in Turn Your Radio On set in the ’50s, signing Britain’s first rock’n’roll act: Bobby Dazzler. He was back by popular demand in The Beat Goes On, which is set in the ’60s – where he discovered Liverpool band The Grottles! Now in 2012, he’s still trying to stay on top.“

This time around, Harry attempts to make the ultimate talent competition by combining elements of popular favourites reality shows, but disaster strikes as he gets utterly confused and doesn’t count on getting sabotaged by his own judges. Will the horrible judges conquer or will it be the true talent that saves the day? 

“The show is a loving pastiche of Strictly, Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor  presented by Dermot O’Nearly, co-hosts Twice Daily and Bruce Beehive and judges Simon Foul, Sheryl Troll, Alesha A, David Musseltov, Louise Walsh, Craig Level-Crossing, Bruno Ravioli, Len Woodman and Joanna Slumley.

“Together they’ll be commenting on the efforts of acts such as Freddy Goodwin, a group of three to six-year-olds called Mediocrity, a girl band called Little Bricks, jugglers, magicians, gymnasts and assorted cooks. Also there will be a mish-mash of contestants similar to those from the likes of TOWIE and The Apprentice.“

The evening promises plenty of laughs and audience participation, so don’t be shy when it comes to cheering on your favourite. 

Harpenden Public Halls July 19-22.
Details: 01582 840245,