SHE is the mum of one of the West End’s rising stars and was a founding member of the former Birchwood Amateur Dramatics Society.

Now Jacquie Sheridan, whose son Oliver Ormson has just starred in Cats, is returning to her roots with a new stage group which she hopes will reinvigorate the arts in the town she grew up in.

The mum-of-four has launched Birchwood Acts which was followed by more than 100 people on Facebook within three hours of its creation. Now Jacquie is hosting a meeting at Birchwood Youth and Community Centre on Monday to get it off the ground.

The first production will be The Deadly Debate, a murder mystery written by her daughter Aimee Ormson with a cast of 20.

Jacquie said: “We’re looking for actors, singers, dancers, backstage staff, lighting and sound technicians and people who can do costumes and make-up – the lot. Or even people who just want to be involved in a small way and make new friends. We’ve so far got 22 people coming to the meeting so it’s obviously needed.

“I’ve hit on something and they’re all Birchwood people who want to be involved with their community.

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“Anyone is welcome to give it a go. In another month’s time the nights are going to be cold and dark.

“Everyone’s going to be hibernating and sitting in and what a great way to get out and meet new people.”

Stage work used to be Jacquie’s life before family commitments took over so she said it felt like coming full circle to be in the spotlight again.

Jacquie, who works as a Warrington Borough Council support worker for people who need help after being discharged from hospital, added: “I loved drama at school and had been in little productions and so when I came here, I set up a group with a friend called Birchwood Players.

“We did street theatre and our own small production in the school so it was always in me. But then I got married and along came the children and it was left to one side.”

Then, when she was bringing up her children, another am dram group set up with the same name.

She joined them when she was in her 30s and when that disbanded, Jacquie helped set up Birchwood Amateur Dramatics Society.

It was somewhere in that creative atmosphere that Oliver Ormson, whose CV includes The Book of Mormon and The Addams Family musical, was inspired to become an actor.

Jacquie, 56, said: “Initially, rehearsals and meetings were held in my front room and Oliver witnessed all this. He was five or six at the time.

“He used to come downstairs and he’d be stepping over sets and props to get to the breakfast table.

“And there’d often be someone on the settee who stayed overnight because they’d been up all night making a scene.

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Oliver in Addams Family

“Now Oliver is the one on stage as a professional actor. He’s doing so well and he’s so focused.

“All of us went down to see him in Cats at Kilworth and he was just brilliant in the role of Rum Tug Tugger. I’m bursting with pride.”

Birchwood Amateur Dramatics Society was Jacquie’s ‘life’ for a few years.

She added: “I didn’t just write the pantomimes, I directed them and was in them as well so it was kind of my life. We did about five successful pantomimes and it was acknowledged by Birchwood Town Council. They supported us.

“The highlight was Wizard of Oz at Parr Hall. It was amazing. The tech and backstage crew at Parr Hall said when they looked in the diary and saw an amateur group booked in for that week, they were dreading it.

“But at the end of it they said they took their hats off to us and praised our professionalism.”

Then the curtain closed for the final time.

Jacquie, who has nine grandchildren, said: “The last production was in 2000 and it was Peter Pan at William Beamont High School. Some of the people in the cast who were very involved in it had moved or couldn’t commit the time so I thought it’s had its day and I left it.”

Despite that, returning to the stage has often been on Jacquie’s mind and encouragement from Oliver and support from two town councillors was the final push she needed.

READ MORE > Oliver’s Addams Family Values

She added: “Nearly 20 years on I’ve been asked so many times: ‘What’s happened to the drama group?’ I broke my wrist earlier this year and was off work so I had time to think. Oliver was in Cats and having auditions and we’d always talk about drama and all that’s going on.

“But I wasn’t thinking drama at the time. I was thinking about giving something back to the community by helping at the foodbank or helping at the café at Birchwood Forest Park.”

Town councillors David and Julia Ellis convinced Jacquie to follow her passion.

She said: “They said this is what Birchwood needs and offered their support and Oliver said: ‘Mum, just do it’. I feel like I’ve come full circle. I feel like that teenager again who had just moved to Birchwood.”

Birchwood Acts has its first meeting on Monday at 7.30pm at Birchwood Youth and Community Centre in Delenty Drive. To register your interest send a message to the group at