A theatre group is celebrating 80 years with a new production.

The Marlow Players will mark the milestone anniversary with a three-day run of A Night on the Tiles, by Frank Vickery, at The Shelly Theatre this month.

The play’s director and group president Andrew Stafford, 69, said there was a wealth of talent in the group and that many people who came to watch their plays were “astonished” at how good they were.

He said: “Amateur drama can be very, very good. It is not just fun and games – some of the people are astonished at the standard we reach.

“There are a lot of amateur groups performing in the area.”

The Marlow Players were founded by Russell Sage, Muriel Batting and Jean Henry, and have put on hundreds of productions in Marlow and its twin French town of Marly-le Roi.

The two groups – The Marlow Players and Les Baladins de Marly-le Roi – have alternated between bringing a production in French here and taking an English play to France for more than 40 years.

Mr Stafford added: “The Marlow Players from the beginning sought to bring quality drama to Marlow, choosing plays from the great canon of English, French and Russian drama: Chekhov, Shakespeare, Ibsen, Shaw, Anouilh, Wilde; and also the ever-popular work of Noel Coward and Agatha Christie and the lighter English farceurs.

The group has a mix of young and older members.

Speaking about A Night on the Tiles, he said: “The production is a terrific play and it is in response to our youngest members who said we needed to look at something other than the usual plays we were putting on.

“The play has a lot of laughs and a few tears.”

He describes it as a “sparklingly funny” observation of the strains and stresses of a typical working class family at the moments of rites of passage; a wedding, a funeral, and the birth of a baby.

He added: “Unemployment, shady dealings, the pruriently genteel, the extended family and marriage strains all come into the story.”

Mr Stafford told the Marlow Free Press that as president, he wants to “carry the torch on” from his predecessors in running the group.

He said: “I would say that the standards that we achieve now are as good as, and possibly even better than, back then.

“We have some good actors now. The standards are still there which is great.”