STOURBRIDGE theatre group Side by Side has picked up another clutch of awards at Dudley Festival of Music Drama and Dance.

The accomplished group of actors and dancers with learning disabilities, who have been going strong for 17 years, walked away from the festival on Sunday March 23 with three trophies after winning each of their classes with a distinction.

The actors presented a 20-minute piece from their new production Illyria-on-Sea, based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, which they are gearing up to perform in Stourbridge in June and which adjudicator Susan Mackay praised as “delightful”.

While dance group members donned yellow hats, T-shirts and socks to perform Mellow Yellow which will also feature in the summer production.

The actors also entered the group poem class with The Sea by James Reeves and were highly praised by adjudicator Stephen R Lloyd for their sense of rhythm and vocal clarity.

Artistic director, Susan Wallin MBE, said: ‘”The company are amazing in their commitment, dedication and determination; they are a constant inspiration and deserve all the accolades they get.”

The Side by Side stars are now continuing their rehearsals for their forthcoming summer production Illyria-on-Sea, which tells of twins separated in a ship wreck and the chaos that ensues when they are mistaken for one another.

The play, set at a 1950s seaside resort, is part of the Royal Shakespeare Companies Open Stages Project which sees amateur companies given training and support from classically trained Shakespearian actors.

The company has also been working with Tony Lidington - the UK’s leading expert on sea-side entertainment.

Comprising a combination of dance, music, mime and the dialogue - Illyria-on-Sea will run at Stourbridge Town Hall from June 25 to 28.

It will also be presented at Augustine’s at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, from August, 12 to 16, marking the company's sixth visit to the world renowned festival.

Tickets for the town hall outing are available from The French Deli in Coventry Street, Stourbridge, or by calling Johanne Butler on 07880 437117.