Nottingham amateurs perform alongside RSC professionals in Stratford

ITV News Central Education Correspondent Peter Bearne met some of the amateur actors from Nottingham who star in the Henry VI part 2 production

Imagine being plucked from obscurity to perform alongside professional actors with one of the most famous theatre companies in the world.

Sound nerve-wracking, something to get the butterflies churning in the stomach?

It's an opportunity which has been taken up by 12 ordinary Nottingham folk who are now preparing for the biggest performance of their lives.

After months of rehearsals, the group joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in a production of Henry VI Part 2 at their base in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. 

It's part of a community project called "Shakespeare Nation", designed to bring the Bard's work to people with little or no experience of the world's greatest playwright. 

Henry VI Part 2 lends itself to the project as it has one of the longest cast lists of any Shakespeare play - with 85 characters.

Thirty hopefuls from Nottingham took part in a workshop audition, and were whittled down to 12.

They come from all backgrounds - there's a primary school headteacher, a company owner, a retired salesman, a former GP and an 81-year-old theatre-lover.

The RSC has done the same thing in five other places in the country - Blackpool, Bradford, Canterbury, Cornwall and Norwich. Each group will have their own run in the production.

The Nottingham group have been rehearsing once a week with staff from the RSC at the city's Theatre Royal.

Last week, they travelled to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford for final rehearsals and to get fitted out in their costumes.

Across the weekend, they began a four-night run in front of an audience of more than a thousand.

ITV News Central has been following their progress all the way to see whether they can thrive under the spotlight and banish those first night nerves.

Good luck to them all!