Managing a large theatre group is certainly in the blood for the Hurst family. Jonas Hurst, who runs The Hurst Children’s Theatre Group in Harpenden which is currently in rehearsals for Aladdin.

Jonas is a third generation theatrical producer and with more than 250 children attending, his group is among the largest independent youth drama club in the area.

Jonas’ grandmother started theatre schools in London 60 years ago and his father Mike, a music producer, established a theatre school in Henley, which is now run by one of Jonas’ five siblings, who all run theatre groups and started out in the family theatre school.

Jonas, who represented Great Britain at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest and was one of the Mini Pops when he was seven years old, recalls having the likes of Marc Bolan over for tea and Shakin’ Stevens coming to dinner but for him, the experience he got as a young child treading the boards was just as valuable.

“We all got a lot out of it,” says Jonas. “Now the really rewarding thing is watching others come through our classes. It’s great for improving self-confidence.”

Since the group has so many members, the cast is broken down into the core players and several groups of 20 to play the chorus on different nights. Jonas tells me even the youngest aged from three to six have an important part to play.

“The tiny ones play the Weenie Genies, genies in training, who help the fairy. They’re my get out of jail free card; the audience just melt when they see them.”

Older children get to play Launderettes working in Widow Twankey’s laundry and others get to try out their martial arts skills as the bodyguards, the Kung Fueys.

Aladdin (played in turn by Zoe Coxon and Ellie Felton) is sent to find the lamp of everlasting power by the wicked Fu Manchu (played by Becca Wilkins and Laura Wright) and meets the Genie of the Lamp (Jake Creighton) in this show which features lots of audience participation and catchy songs such as Happy Talk and Chinese Laundry Blues.

Mike has penned the script and Jonas tells me his dad has kept his hand in over the years writing more than 30 shows that are “packed with Blackadder style humour and fun for all the family”.

The show is at Harpenden Public Halls from January 21 to 23. Tickets: 01582 840245.