THEY say you should never go back, but Sarah Groarke didn’t hesitate when she got the chance to appear in the latest production at Bolton Octagon - The Blonde Bombshells of 1943 - which opens on Friday.

This will be the third time that Sarah will have starred in the show about an all-girl swing band who makes waves playing GI bases across the North during the war years.

“It can be a difficult choice whether to do something again,” said Sarah. “I have got very fond memories of the previous productions and I have gained lifelong friends from them. But it was also a chance to work at the Octagon again and also perform at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough and the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick.”

Blonde Bombshells is a co-production between the three theatre and opens in Bolton before heading to Cumbria and then spending August on the Yorkshire coast.

“That’ll be like having a four week holiday,” laughed Sarah. “But another reason for taking the role was that it was a chance to work with Zoë - director by Zoë Waterman - again. She’s helped kickstart my career as theatre had taken a bit of a backseat as it can be difficult for an actor with young children, so it’s been great to be back in rehearsal room.”

Written by Alan Plater, Blonde Bombshells has, according to Sarah “ a real knowing warmth to it”.

She said: “It’s so lovely to have so many strong women on stage, especially northern women.

“Alan has got a really good ear for musicians and they way they downplay themselves and for one-liners. There’s lots of warmth in the production with people taking the micky out of each other. That’s what makes it feel real. Downplaying stuff, that’s what we do.”

Blonde Bombshells places huge demands on the cast. Not only do they have to act, they also have to be good enough musicians to form a convincing swing band playing live on stage.

“Musically it is a challenge,” said Sarah. “The pianist has a particularly tough gig and the rest of us fill in around. But we have to look as though being in the band is our day job.”

In which case, you can see why Sarah has been involved in the show so often. She studied music and away from the stage can currently be found conducting the Rainford Brass Band of which she is musical director.

“I’ve conducted all around the country as I’ve lived in quite a few areas. At the moment I lead a championship section band at Rainford near St Helens and they are a lovely bunch of people.

“This group we have got together for this show are really good musicians and really good actors. I’m not into the term ‘actor musician’ because I am an actor and I am a musician and I’m really passionate about the two things and sometimes they meet which is great.

“When I’m conducting, I perform; it’s not something you can switch off. You are what you are. I’m fortunate in that I get to do both disciplines, acting and music and that I was given the opportunity to study both.”

Sarah studied acting after her musical studies came to an end and she has strong opinions on the arts being made available to youngsters in school.

“When I was at school my parents were not musical at all,” she said. “Me and my brother were given free instruments and free lessons then I got into brass bands and studied music. That opportunity is now denied so many youngsters.

“I run an after school drama club because it’s not in the curriculum and music in schools is hanging by a thread. But if the door is not being opened to youngsters, how can they explore the room?”

Trumpet player Sarah has spent the past few weeks ‘beating her lip into submission’ for the role.

“After conducting it’s nice to be able to get out and have a good old tootle on the trumpet,” she said.

Blonde Bombshells will be performed ‘in the round’ which puts the audience at the heart of the action.

“I love it when you feel people right next to and you can feel how they are reacting to the show,” said Sarah. “As audience member, I love being spat on! You feel part of it and in room with people and it’s so real.

“With this show and the music it’s going to be amazing. It will be a fantastic experience for everybody and I hope they’ll leave the theatre thinking ‘wow that was brilliant’.

Blonde Bombshells of 1943, Bolton Octagon, Friday, June 9 to Saturday, July 1. Details from