Young actors keep their light shining with topical choice

Some of the members of Beacon Actors Company, formed for young actors from throughout the Calder Valley
Some of the members of Beacon Actors Company, formed for young actors from throughout the Calder Valley

A theatre group set up to keep young actors involved in the arts has re-launced under a brand new name.

Beacon Actors Company, which has members from throughout the Calder Valley, is now set to stage a politically charged play as General Election 2015 closes, with three performances at the Little Theatre, Holme Street, Hebden Bridge.

Originally founded in 2013 as the Calderdale Young Actor’s Company, it was designed as a mechanism to keep former members of Calderdale Theatre School working in the arts after they had left aged 18.

The company was founded by 14 members, with 12 young performers based all across the Calder Valley – Jenny Birch, Patrick Costello, Sol Cotton, Daniel Cox, Joe Finegold, William Foulds, Adam Garrett, Rachel Griffiths, Josh Nutbrown, James Patrick, William Pugh and Juliette Strobel. The number is made up by two adults who acted as mentors as well as actor/directors, Gillie Kerrod and Stephen Finegold.

Making their debut as part of the 2013 Halifax Festival, CYAC’s production was ‘Private Peaceful’, adapted from the novel by former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo, which was commissioned by Square Chapel Centre for the Arts’ Education and Outreach department to help engage local primary school students who were already studying the novel.

Company member Adam Garrett said: “We performed three shows at Orangebox Young People’s Centre in Halifax, becoming the first company to utilise their purpose-built performance space. The run was a great success and we sold out all performances, receiving some wonderful feedback from children, teachers and adults alike.

“Last year, we were asked by Square Chapel to bring the production back, transferring to the larger Square Chapel auditorium itself. Once again, all performances sold out and the piece was very emotionally charged, in no small part due to the centenary of the First World War.

“This year, we have re-launched as Beacon Actors Company, named after our collectively favourite place in Calderdale, Beacon Hill.

“We are incredibly proud to represent such a wide area of the Calder Valley and to unite our common interest in the arts through performance, engagement with the local community and widespread discussion and debate through theatre. And our next production will take us into new and exciting territory.”

“Posh”, written by Laura Wade will take place at the Little Theatre during election week – May 6, 7 and 8 at 7.30pm. Adam said: “‘Posh’ concerns an Oxford University based dining club called ‘The Riot Club’ a fictionalised version of The Bullingdon Club, which of course has both Boris Johnson and David Cameron among its most famous alumni. The play is a fascinating study of the state of modern Britain.

“It seemed an ideal time for us to put this play on, not least of all during the week of one the most intriguing elections in our recent history. As young performers, many of us voting for the first or second time, the play has certainly struck a chord with us and we are really looking forward to putting this on in our local community, in our constituency and to an engaging, communicative and localised audience.”

The production will also feature two seasoned performers in John Laing and Robert Garrett, both of whom have performed in productions all over the valley for the last three decades.

Tickets are available via the Little Theatre website or Innovation, Hebden Bridge.