DIRECTOR Ben Sutton loves sharp objects.
In fact, he's been playing with swords for the last 15 years.
So it's no surprise that at the helm of Tamworth Dramatic Society for the second time, he's chosen to put the action-packed, swashbuckling tale of The Three Musketeers centre stage.
"The big thing is the partner work, the whole thing that makes theatrical fighting different from real fighting is you aren't actually trying to kill each other," he said.
"You are working together to create the illusion of a fight.
"I need this cast to be as cooperative as possible to look as uncooperative as possible."
A classic tale of close escapes, the show follows the greatest heroes of the day, Athos, Porthos and Aramis, the famous three musketeers.
With the help of his plucky sister Sabine, D'Artagnan joins forces with the trio to defence France and finds himself locked in conflict with Cardinal Richelieu and the infamous Countess de Winter.
When people think of Three Musketeers, women aren't really in the picture. What's distinct about this performance is that women play a far more central role, based on Ken Ludwig's adaptation.
The addition of Sabine, played by Chelsea Roulstone, pulls the play out of the 17th Century and thrusts it into the light.
Sutton has worked hard to bring a strong female presence to the play. "This is a story written in the 19th Century about the 17th Century, because of that women didn't get much of a look in," he said.
I need this cast to be as cooperative as possible to look as uncooperative as possible.Ben Sutton
"I put this show up because I've always been the kid interested in swordsmanship and those action and adventure stories."
What many don't know is that Sutton is a professionally trained theatrical swordsman and handcrafted many of the shows historical props himself.
"This is the biggest thing I've tried to do and it's been a massive challenge," Sutton said.
"I had a very good idea of what I wanted going into it, but it never turns out the way you saw it because of the amazing cast who bring everything to it.
"My role is to give them an idea of where to go but a safe space to take themselves there."
The Three Musketeers is on at the Capitol Theatre from March 22 to 30.