AS A rally driver Hazel Johnson is used to special stages — but she’s never had a more important stage to deal with than the one she faces next week.

For Hazel will be directing an Oscar Wilde classic at the prestigious Dukes Theatre in Lancaster, playing to the public for four nights rom Wednesday.

Hazel, 20, is studying for a degree in drama at the University of Cumbria at Lancaster and her directorial debut will account for a third of her final year’s marks. The Accrington student has been involved in every stage of the production of Lady Windermere’s Fan, from casting to costumes.

She said: “It is really exciting to be directing something at a theatre as well known as the Dukes. It’s also pretty daunting. It’s been pretty tight timewise as we had three weeks before Christmas fitting rehearsals in between lectures and then we had one week free before the holidays.

“But this week everyone has been working without a script, which has really given me the chance to direct for the first time, looking at scenes with the cast who know their lines. This is the first full production I have directed but I have been loving it. I chose to do a directing module as part of my degree rather than acting or something technical as that is something I would love to get involved in.

“I still enjoy performing too but I really enjoy the creative process of directing as you are involved in everything.”

This weekend Hazel will have a complete change of pace as she will be heading off to Autosport International at the NEC in Birmingham where she will be giving the public a taste of her ‘other’ passion — motorsport.

“I will be giving paid drives all day to members of the public,” said Hazel, who is both a rally and autotest champion. “It will probably help take my mind off next week.”

Lady Windermere’s Fan runs from Wednesday until Saturday.

“It’s amazing the Dukes allows us to perform there,” said Hazel, It’s up to us to repay the faith they haver shown in us.”

For tickets, contact the box office on 01524 598500.