A WINCHESTER theatre has received the backing of a legendary film star.

Chesil Theatre's new writing festival TakeTen is now endorsed by Sir Kenneth Branagh.

The actor, director, film producer, and screenwriter is also a patron of the Little Theatre Guild.

He said: "Three cheers for Winchester’s Chesil Theatre. At a time of challenge for all, they have bravely looked to creativity and imagination.

"Their new writing competition can lead the way to new ideas and new and entertaining ways to look at our changed and changing world.

“I hope these exciting writers will help herald the return of live amateur theatre, a vital part of Britain’s creative ecosystem. Bravo Chesil Theatre.”

With the theme 'The Road Not Taken', Chesil Theatre’s TakeTen encourages new writers to enter 10 minute plays.

The deadline is July 18. The top ten plays chosen by a judging panel will be announced in autumn with performances in February 2021.

Chesil Theatre Chairman, David Small, said: "At this difficult time for theatre, we’re pleased to have an exciting activity encouraging new writers from across the UK.

"We’ve been organising a national writing festival every two years since 2008 and we think this is our most ambitious. We’ve been hugely impressed by the range and standard of submissions in the past and we’re looking forward to another highly successful event."

Visit the theatre's website for information on how to enter.