The premiere of As-One theatre's Tinderbox was held last night at the Corn Exchange in Dorchester.

Attended by the town's Mayor and by many other local residents and families – some travelling from further afield - the smiling faces and heart-felt applause to end spoke volumes.

The production was written by its director and designer, Jaqueline Avery, who directs Ascend ensemble, an arm of the company that offers new theatre practitioner graduates the opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals.

She wrote this piece as a dedication to her young children aged three and one; and said she wanted it to appeal to all ages, bringing the family together.

Involved in the opening of the show were members of Stagecoach Dorchester and Dorset Youth Theatre who marked the start of the production with a magical lantern lit procession. The youngsters were then able to watch the show from the front row giving them the opportunity to enjoy an inspirational, entertaining show with affecting moments of pathos and humour from a talented and professional ensemble.

Using carefully planned props, the cast including Laurence Aldridge and John Hatziemmanuel, the Tinderbox Soldier were able to create a visual spectacle that carried the audience through a contemporary, very physical version of the original Hans Christian Anderson tale with a twist.

Using clever puppetry, masks, inventive shadow theatre, and quirky animated image - by Thomas Hughes - the talented performers, including Jane Mckell the company’s founding Artistic Director and Producer, were able to create illusions that enabled the audience to be transported through the lifetime of the Tinderbox Princess - played by Jessica Chloe Young - who was initially represented by a beautiful puppet, evolving into a living character.

Original music, songs and lyrics were written for the play by up and coming poet, singer-songwriter, Joe Butcher - an ex Thomas Hardy pupil and graduate of Commercial Music, Bath Spa University.

The beautiful lullaby was gently introduced and reoccurred as a memorable theme throughout the performance.

The harmonies were particularly affecting, as were the accompaniment of two guitars and some cleverly timed rhythmic drumming.

The show will now be on tour throughout six counties, including several West Dorset schools. The dates of or future performance are listed on the As-One Theatre website.