A FILM and TV star from Barrhead has launched a drama group teaching youngsters the art of performance for free.

Annmarie Strain was 19 when she landed the role of Chantelle in Ken Loach’s drama “Sweet Sixteen” and has since starred in River City, playing Hazel.

Now a mum-of-three, she is eager to provide the young people of Barrhead with the same opportunities she had growing up.

Annmarie said: “When I was a teenager, I was involved in the Dunterlie Youth Theatre, which was funded by the council.

“I’m from a family of four kids and my mum was a single parent.

All four of us were involved in the drama group at different ages, and I know there’s no way we could have attended if it hadn’t been free. I’ve been working with In Cahootz for years, which is a Glasgow-based charity that runs community drama projects. I have been keen to start a project in Barrhead. I really want to give something back.”

Annmarie and the team at In Cahootz sent out a number of applications for funding and, through the Better Barrhead Community Fund, received what they needed to begin offering free classes for primary pupils. The group now has a waiting list of around 60.

Annmarie added: “It shows there’s a need for something like this in the area. At the moment we’re only working with primary school pupils, but we’ve got a few applications in so we can expand it.”

Annmarie would love to provide something on the scale of the Dunterlie club she attended, which had groups for pre-schoolers, primary pupils, teens, adults and over-50s. All that came to an end when the its funding was pulled.

The key to the future of the new group will be ensuring the council and the community see its benefit.