Ludlow solicitor Andrew Whittle made a dramatic decision when he reached a certain age, an age at which he felt he needed an activity to replace playing competitive sport: "I started acting about nine years ago," he explains. But he didn't stop at simply treading the boards and, five years, ago, started his own theatre company, Here to There Productions, which presents Anne Boleyn at The Courtyard at the end of this month.

The first play the company put on was The Hound of the Baskervilles - "I happened to be reading it - it was written for three men to play all the parts, including the women, and I thought it would be a fun play to do, so I decided to start my own company and put it on - I thought it might be a one-off, but I carried on..."

Andrew adds that his invitation to audition for the play attracted just two people - meaning that a three-handed turned out to be the perfect choice.

"It was when I was looking for something else to do that I saw an ad for acting classes for the over-40s in Worcester and started going once a week. Then the tutor pointed us in the direction of a company in Malvern who were auditioning for a play, and I got a part and basically I've been acting ever since.

After a while I started thinking that if I was doing all this acting, it would be good, when I reached the point when I couldn't remember the words anymore, to be able to look back and say I'd done some good plays, not just knockabout farces." So Here to There's backlist includes Shakespeare and Chekhov as well as contemporary dramas, "plays that might not otherwise be seen in this rural part of the world."

High on Andrew's list of his favourite productions is the most recent, Four Minutes, Twelve Seconds, about the dangers of the internet and what happens when uploading stuff to the web goes wrong. "It certainly made audiences sit up and I'm pretty proud of that one."

"I keep an eye on plays that become available and look at what reactions they've had when they've been performed and what sort of reviews they were getting. Then I'll read it and see where we go .."

Though Here to There was an amateur company to begin with, today's productions feature predominantly professional casts. "When an actor withdrew from an early production and I couldn't find anyone willing to take on the part, I got a professional actor to fill the role," says Andrew, explaining how the metamorphosis from am dram to pro-am dram began. "We have a healthy mix of both," he says. "But we're now at the point where it's heavily geared towards professional actors. "In Ann Boleyn, I'm the only member of the cast who, strictly speaking, is an amateur. And it's nice that lots of the professional actors are repeats - so they obviously haven't been scarred by the experience!"

Andrew admits that it has been tempting to cherry pick the best parts for himself, "But sometimes I've auditioned and taken my chance. Last year we did A Chorus of Disapproval, about a solicitor who runs a theatre company, giving me the opportunity to send myself up!"

Howard Brenton's Anne Boleyn sees Henry VIII's notorious second wife - the witty and flirtatious Anne, in love with Henry, but also with the most dangerous ideas of her day ... "

Anne Boley runs at The Courtyard from Wednesday, August 30 to Saturday, September 2. To book, call the box office on 01432 340555 or visit