An operatic company has declared Wimbledon a "donkey free zone" after not one ass was put forward to star in their latest production of Carmen.

A production of Bizet’s Carmen is set to run at the New Wimbledon Theatre on March 21 next year when director and producer Ellen Kent is hoping to bring an authentic taste of Spain to the stage by casting a real life donkey from a nearby sanctuary at each show.

But despite being inundated with offers from many of the 72 date tour venues, not one donkey has been put forward for Wimbledon.

Ms Kent said: "This production of Bizet’s Carmen is about bringing the heat, the passion and the sensuous intensity of Spain to life on stage.

"In some venues we’re using a white Andalucian stallion but really, what could be more Spanish than incorporating a donkey into the performance."

Growing up in Andalucia Ms Kent helped her mother rescue donkeys from rural villages destined for ritual sacrifice.

Sadie Williams, who co-ordinates the donkey stars for Opera and Ballet International, said: "We’ve had a great response in many areas and often the donkeys are quite used to the spotlight, having appeared in nativities or Palm Sunday parades.
"But for some reason we’re struggling to find a suitable donkey for Wimbledon."

Carmen is set to appear at the New Wimbledon Theatre on March 21 when both donkey and owner will appear in the show.

If you know a donkey that might fit the bill email by December 20.

A collection for a donkey welfare charity will be made on the night.