Don’t be surprised if you see theatre-goers check their sat-navs when they attend a Pinstripe Production.

It’s the moment when they just want to be certain they haven’t arrived at the WC2 postcode for London’s West End, rather than TA6 for The McMillan Theatre in Bridgwater.

Whether it’s the talented cast or the first class productions, the realistic stage sets or the outstanding costumes, a Pinstripe Production has all the characteristics of a top Theatre-land show, right in the heart of Somerset.

“We want to change the whole perception of what it means to be an amateur theatre company,” explains James Tucker, producer and director at Pinstripe.

“There is a huge amount of talent in the town and surrounding area and we want to use it to bring big West End shows here. We aim to make our productions professional and with sets that are lavish and authentic, so that the audience feels this is the sort of standard they would expect to see in a city production.”

Its no surprise that this philosophy has seen Pinstripe collect a number of awards, including a 2011 Evening Post Rose Bowl award for Best Musical.

A recent production of Sunset Boulevard at The McMillan won more praise, and not just from the professional critics. Audiences were drawn from Taunton, Bristol and even Bath, attracted by the good vibes on the art scene about Pinstripe and its ambitions.

When the company decided to perform the slightly manic puppet show, Avenue Q, it woke up a whole new fan base and admiration for what the company was trying to do.

“Avenue Q is a sort of Muppet Show for adults,” said James.

“It is not politically correct and pokes fun at topics such as religion, racism and sexism. I chose the actors for the show. That is one of our hallmarks. We don’t audition but rather, chose those local people we think will be best in the role.

“We took the show to The Brewhouse in Taunton and received standing ovations. Afterwards people were saying how professional and slick the whole show was. That told us we were doing our job properly.”

Pinstripe Productions first trod the boards in 2010 with the musical, Assassins. James, who had spent twenty-five years with the Bridgwater Operatic Society, joined forces with the immensely talented Brian Buttle, a stalwart of the arts scene in Bridgwater and Somerset, to found Pinstripe.

Brian trained as a stage manager and director at The Bristol old Vic Theatre School, and went on to work with The Royal Ballet and The National Theatre.

Sadly, Brian died soon after Assassins was shown. It went on to win Best Musical at The Evening Post Rosebowl awards.

It would be three years before Avenue Q was chosen as the next Pinstripe show and James says its success is a tribute to Brian and his vision.

“His legacy is the confidence in the company to produce top West End shows and now we have the splendid McMillan, we have the ideal venue to do so,” adds James.

“We are currently working on two shows for this year, The Full Monty in July, followed by Evita in November.

“Tickets have just gone on sale and early bookings are very promising. We are a not-for-profit organisation and we always aim to cover our costs while making sure we put on the best show possible. Any profit goes back into the business for our next production.

“The fact we are staging two such big productions this year is a testimony to our drive and ambition and thanks to the people of Bridgwater who come to our shows in such great numbers. Their very positive feedback is a sign we are on the right path.”

Thanks to Pinstripe, a little piece of Somerset will forever be the West End.

Tickets for The Full Monty and Evita are available now from the McMillan Theatre box office on 01278 556677 or online at