Wanganui Collegiate School's drama production this year is Michael Frayn's modern farce Noises Off.

Collegiate drama students have presented musicals in recent years and teacher Jennifer Gregg says she wanted to give them a different sort of challenge this year.

"It is quite a difficult play because it is written as a play within a play.

"Students are also getting good experience behind the scenes and we have a student stage manager."

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English playwright Frayn has said the inspiration for his 1982 play came while he watched another of his plays performed from backstage.

"It was funnier from behind than in front, and I thought that one day I must write a farce from behind."

Zach Anderson plays the "director" Lloyd Dallas of play-within-the-play, Nothing On and says it is a challenging role.

"It has the most lines I've ever had to learn and my character is very frustrated.

"It is a really funny play and we are enjoying ourselves but it is challenging."

The solid, two-storey set has been built by woodwork teacher Simon Badcock and his students.

"They have done an amazing job," says Gregg.

"We are delighted with how good it looks and it is very fit-for-purpose."

Most of the cast are Year 13 students although a number of Years 11 and 12 drama students are getting good experiences both front and backstage.

"It is a very entertaining play and we are hoping to see good attendance from the Whanganui community as I'm sure they will enjoy it."

Noises Off will be performed at 7pm on Thursday, August 16, and Friday, August 17 in the Prince Edward Auditorium. Tickets are $14.70 from trybooking.com or $15 (cash only) at the door.