THE CREAM of the county's acting talent will be showcased when Staffordshire University's final year drama students stage Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale in the Bard's home town.
The show concentrates on King Leontes and how he grows mad with the mental torment of believing his wife Hermione is having an affair with his childhood friend Polixenes.
It is set on New Year's Eve and shows the play through the eyes of Mamillius, Leontes and Hermione's first-born child who is forced away from his mother and falls ill.
In a first for the university, the part of the child, Mamillius, will be played by 14-year-old Matthew Clarkson who will be treading the boards alongside third-year students.
Directed by course leader and industry professional Robert Marsden the students will take on director, cast and creative company roles.
Mr Marsden said: "Students are working hard on their final project at the university prior to graduation.
"The Winter's Tale offers many acting, directing and design opportunities for the students, who are currently in an intensive five weeks of rehearsals."
He added: "Using a professional theatre approach allows students to have a real-world experience here at the university before entering the creative industries or further training and we are delighted to have been picked to take our work to the Royal Shakespeare Company this June."
The show will be performed at the Royal Shakespeare Company's open air space The Dell on Sunday, June 8.