One of the world's best known children's programmes is coming to Northern Ireland where it will be adapted to suit a local audience.
Northern Ireland's version of Sesame Street will be known as Sesame Tree, and auditions for cast members for the internationally-acclaimed educational series have begun.
Sesame Tree is being produced in association with Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organisation behind Sesame Street, by Belfast-based production company, Sixteen South. The programme will be set in and around the Sesame Tree ? a wonderful hollow tree where a number of new, specially created puppets live.
The 15-minute programmes will feature two new Muppet characters, developed by local writers and brought to life by local performers, who seek answers to children's questions through Muppet scenes, live action sequences in and around Northern Ireland, and classic Sesame Street segments featuring characters such as Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster and Elmo.
Sixteen South is currently holding auditions to find local performers who can bring the stars of Sesame Tree to life.
The local producers are being assisted by Sesame Street Muppeteer Marty Robinson, who plays Aloysius Snuffleupagus, Telly Monster, Slimey the Worm and others.
Sesame Tree's executive producer Colin Williams said: "We have worked closely with Sesame Workshop and with educational consultants to create this exciting new format Sesame Tree.
"Through fun interaction of the Muppets in studio, Sesame Street archive clips and live films, children will enjoy learning about themselves and others."
Over the next six months Sixteen South's writers and new puppeteers will work with Sesame Workshop and education advisers to develop the series.
The new Muppets are being made by the Jim Henson Company in New York and will be introduced to their Northern Ireland audience in the coming months, in advance of Sesame Tree's premiere on BBC Northern Ireland TV in spring 2008.