ONE year since a fire ripped through its rehearsal space, a theatre group for young people has recovered and is thriving once again.

The Savoy Youth Theatre Academy was left homeless last May when its centre, in Monmouth's White Swan Court, was ravaged by fire, destroying costumes and props worth thousands of pounds.

"The main space was totally gutted – we had three rooms [in the building] and they were either completely burned or smoke-damaged," group director Sam Densham told the Argus this week.

"One room stored the majority of our costumes and props. There was around £14,000 worth in total.

"It was a big shock. It set us back completely. The kids were devastated, and very tearful."

The children's despair soon turned into resourcefulness – one girl set up a Justgiving page to help fund the group's recovery, and ended up raising £1,115.

Ms Densham said she was proud of the children's positive attitude following the fire.

"We had to rise up and move forward. We wanted to show the kids that it didn't matter what happened, we could move past it," she said.

The response from the community was touching – parents washed and repair damaged costumes, and staff at the town's Timpson shop helped with dry-cleaning.

The group found a new place to store its equipment, but in a cruel twist this building was damaged by flooding.

"We'd had the fire and the flood, and we were waiting for the plague," Ms Densham said.

But after months of hard work, the group has recovered. Its members now rehearse at the town's girls' school, and the group has opened up a second facility across the border in Coleford.

"We're in a strong position and we want to help young people," Ms Densham said. "We did a charity concert for the mayor of Monmouth a few weeks ago. The children said the group was like a family.

"They learn to be independent, learn lifelong skills, and are accepted for who the are.

"They all have potential and we allow them to find it for themselves."

The Savoy Youth Theatre Academy will perform The Wizard of Oz in August at The Savoy Theatre, Monmouth.