Actors make a connection with the National Theatre

Calderdale Theatre School students in rehearsals for the National Theatre plays
Calderdale Theatre School students in rehearsals for the National Theatre plays

NINE young people from the Upper Calder Valley will be among 19 actors from Calderdale who will perform at London’s National Theatre later this month.

Joe Cotton, Sol Cotton, William Foulds, Aidan Good, Fin Pritchard and Flo Hutchinson from Hebden Bridge, Juliette Strobel and Daniel Cox from Mytholmroyd, together with Michael James from Luddenden, are all members of Calderdale Theatre School.

The National Theatre included the group in the final line-up for this year’s NT Connections Festival, its annual festival of new plays for young performers, which will run from Wednesday to Monday, June 25. Ten newly commissioned plays telling stories from across the world have been performed in the UK by 180 youth theatres over the past few months.

Calderdale Theatre School is one of only 10 companies selected to stage their production in the capital. Students will present an imagined prequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet - Prince of Denmark by Michael Lesslie - in the National’s Lyttelton Theatre on the Monday. The cast performed the play at Square Chapel, Halifax in March and again as part of the West Yorkshire Connections regional festival at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds last month.

The group’s spokesperson Gillie Kerrod said: “The cast have really enjoyed the experience of working on a new play.

“Thanks to sponsorship from Hebden Bridge Rotary and a grant from Calderdale, the cast have been able to have sessions with a fight director who has choreographed a really exciting sword fight at the climax of the play. It took a while to sink in when we first got the invitation but now we can’t wait!”