To mark the 25th anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera, The Really Useful Group has announced the “immediate availability” of the show and another of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s biggest hits, Cats, to be performed in schools and colleges in the UK and Ireland.

Phantom, which has been seen by over 130 million people worldwide, became Broadway's longest running show in 2006, taking over from Cats which had played for over 21 years.

Commenting on today's announcement, Lloyd Webber said: “One of the first pieces I wrote was Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It was originally written for a school. Later it was expanded to be a full length stage show but I still get a kick out of seeing it performed in the way it began over forty years ago.

“No way was either Cats or The Phantom Of The Opera written for schools even if TS Eliot did write his brilliant cat poems for his godchildren. But such is the extraordinary growth of interest in musicals at grass root level all over the world, plus the astonishing capabilities of our younger performers, that now schools, colleges and amateur societies put on productions that give professionals a huge run for their money. I am therefore delighted that Cats and Phantom are available to be performed by schools and colleges for the first time."

Shows already available from the Really Useful Group include By Jeeves, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, The Likes of Us and Sunset Boulevard.

The company has announced that other shows currently being “worked on” for release to education and amateur markets include Whistle Down the Wind, The Boys in The Photograph (produced in the West End as The Beautiful Game) and Starlight Express.

To perform one of Lloyd Webber's shows, schools must, in the first instance, contact The Really Useful Group Licensing dept via its website at Reallyuseful.com/putonashow.