WHILE promoting their upcoming show – Ian Hislop and Nick Newman's theatrical comedy A Bunch of Amateurs – Wantage's AmEgos Theatre did what all am dram groups must do these days, and took to social media. Little did they expecting that one of their posts would be spotted and responded to by one of the show's two creators. Yet that is exactly what AmEgos director Lesley Phillips got on Twitter from the Private Eye writer and cartoonist. She recalled: "I was scrolling through the likes and retweets and saw a really lovely tweet from Nick Newman, saying he liked our poster. "I replied, saying I liked his play, and we had a little exchange of cheery tweets. "It really made my day to get the message from Nick, so I thought I’d be a bit cheeky and ask him if he’d do a Q&A for me to put in the show’s programme." Cheeky or not, Mr Newman took up the offer. Lesley’s questions were generally around the show, which follows a small amateur dramatic group in Norfolk who gain an extra cast member in the shape of fading Hollywood action-hero Jefferson Steel. Steel thinks he is coming to Stratford-upon-Avon to follow in the footsteps of other illustrious actors to take a lead role in a Shakespeare play. He is mistaken, and confusion and comedy ensue as Steel realises that he has not only bitten off more than he can chew taking on a Shakespeare tragedy, but also must share the stage with a bunch of amateur performers. AmEgos asked Mr Newman about the choice of drama group, play and actors and his next project. He said: "We weren’t inspired by any particular drama group, though Ian and I have both taken part in amateur productions, and that informed the writing. "I played a radical in a school production of the Peterloo Massacre. It was terrifying, and I forgot all my lines! "The brief came to us with King Lear already selected as the play. We did think of changing it, but not for long: Lear’s problems with his daughters seemed to echo the relationships with the female cast members best." Mr Newman revealed that when he and Hislop adapted their 2008 film version of Amateurs into a play for The Watermill in Newbury, they modelled Jefferson closely on Burt Reynolds, who played the character in the film. He revealed: "We originally had Ted Danson in mind as Jefferson, but it was not to be. "Annette Bening was very keen to be Dorothy, with her husband Warren Beatty as Jefferson - but she just couldn’t persuade him to do it." Speaking about AmEgos choice of the play for their next show he said: "We loved the Watermill’s production but have yet to see an amateur version; we’ve been very busy working on our next venture, a play called Trial By Laughter, about the 19th century satirist William Hone - who defended himself against a charge of blasphemy and seditious libel by reducing the jury to tears of laughter. "We open at the Watermill in the autumn, before embarking on a small tour... we hope this will do as well as A Bunch of Amateurs and The Wipers Times." Stephen Rees, the AmEgos actor who is taking on the role of Jefferson Steel in Wantage says: "It really was great to hear from Nick Newman. "It’s pretty daunting following in the footsteps of a Hollywood actor and playing King Lear, but the script is fabulous and gives all of us on stage a real sense of the characters we are portraying. "Some of them are really quite familiar from our time in am dram groups – but all are played with great affection!" A Bunch of Amateurs is playing at King Alfred’s Academy theatre, Portway, Wantage, April 12, 13 and 14. Tickets are available for £10 from wegottickets.com/AmEgos