THE Earl of Wessex visited a Worcestershire theatre yesterday to celebrate its recent extensive refurbishment and watched performances from its varied productions.

Prince Edward was entertained with excerpts from this year’s professional Swan Theatre pantomime Jack & The Beanstalk, the Swan Theatre’s in-education show Worcester – City of Liberty, and Vesta, the one-woman sell-out biopic of Vesta Tilley, Worcester’s star of the music halls.

Prince Edward, who was a production assistant at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Company in the 1980s, clearly enjoyeed being at the theatre.

He also enjoyed performances from the talented youngsters of Academy Dance and met representatives from the Swan Youth Theatre, Friends of the Swan, Worcester Society of Artists and Worcester Camera Club. Chief executive of Worcester Live, Chris Jaeger, said: “It went fantastically.

“He was absolutely delightful. He was friendly, he was down-to-earth. He made it very easy because he brushed aside any serious protocol.

“He was very interested and was lovely with the kids and all the artists he spoke to.

“It was a delight. I’m very proud of the show. He saw four very good examples of what we do at the Swan and featured a lot of children.

"It went brilliantly, it could not have gone better from my point of view.”

The Earl also visited Droitwich earlier in the day, nearly four years after his first visit to the town in January 2008 where he saw for himself the devastation which hit the High Street during the 2007 floods.

He saw the progress made by the town in its recovery and met some of the people who worked hard to bring the town back to life.

He also travelled on the newly restored Droitwich Canal on the Pamela May community trip boat and visited Spa Youth Zone and met local traders in the High Street.

He met butcher Tom Lymer who showed him a picture of the pair meeting during the Prince’s last visit.

He also stopped to meet Colin Smith at Hereford House Butchers.

Mr Smith, who suffered a heart attack during the flooding, said: “He asked how business had picked up and how long we were closed for.

“The last time he was here it was like a building site.

"It’s great to see so many open businesses for his second visit.”