THESE young performers were preparing to go down the Yellow Brick Road.

They were members of the Oxford-based Sparkle Stage Set, and were getting ready to entertain audiences with four performances of the timeless classic The Wizard of Oz.

The cast had been rehearsing for more than two years and final rehearsals were beckoning when this picture was taken in 1988.

Sparkle Stage Set owed its existence to two girls, who were determined to appear on stage.

Debbie Surrage, then aged eight, walked into her home with a copy of the Oxford Mail’s former sister paper, the Oxford Star, under her arm. She announced to her mum June that she wished to audition for a part in a pantomime at the Apollo (now the New) Theatre in Oxford, which was advertised in the paper.

Memory Lane this week

Debbie got the part, went on to appear in other shows at the theatre and even got her junior Equity card.

Not to be outdone, Debbie’s younger sister, Jenny, joined in the act when she was old enough and using her dancing talents, managed to get acting parts.

Mother June wanted to send both daughters to a London drama school for professional training, but such luxuries are expensive.

Instead, she drew on her own theatrical experience and set up a Sunday afternoon acting club called Sparkle Stage Set.

Mrs Surrage, of Girdlestone Road, Headington, recalled: “There were so many talented young children in Oxford who, like Debbie and Jenny, were just crying out for tuition and direction. I decided there was nothing for it but to start an acting club myself.”

After many months of hard work and once the 40 regular members were ready for a live show, she chose The Wizard of Oz because it offered a part for almost everyone.

With parents’ help, stunning costumes were assembled and the show went ahead at the Clarendon Press Centre in Walton Street.

p Where are all the young actors and actresses now? Write and let me know.