Cast revealed for September musical at The Lowry, found through Salford Loading initiative
Salford-based charity I4YPC (Innit for Young People CIO) has revealed the cast for its much-anticipated musical production ‘Innit’, which will be presented at The Lowry in September – with all the acting talent found via the support of the Salford Loading initiative.
Salford Loading, the collaboration between visual arts charity The Art House and Quayside MediaCity to turn vacant retail space into commercial or creative opportunities for community organisations, welcomed I4YPC through its doors earlier this summer to provide audition and rehearsal space for ‘Innit’ completely free of charge.
‘Innit’ is a real-life tale of working-class life in Salford, dysfunctional families, teenage antagonists, and the decisions faced at forks in the road – something the show’s creator and some of the cast, who are all from Manchester and regional towns in the North West, have experienced first-hand.
After standing out from the crowd at the local auditions stage, the lead role will be played by a recent drama graduate from University of Salford. Congleton-born and raised Will Van De Bours will take on the role of Ashley Thompson, an 18-year-old boy who finds himself on the wrong tracks, but who finds hope and redemption in a murky world.
As the lead singer of up-and-coming band New Albion, Van De Bours has also utilised his wider talents and has been involved in the creative production of the show, helping to write and produce the final ballad of the production, alongside the play’s writer and founder of I4YPC, Micky Dacks.
Van De Bours says: “For a drama student, it’s a dream come true to get the lead role in your first professional show. All my previous experience over the years has just been acting in youth group productions but those experiences have led me here. Being involved in the writing of ‘Ran Towards The Darkness’, which is my character Ashley’s ballad and the finale to the show, is just incredible. I can’t even describe how happy I am and can’t wait to get on stage for real.”
The protagonist’s mother, ‘Kelly’, is played by Amy Warhurst, a born and bred Mancunian who teaches drama to children by day. With a career in theatre and education spanning over 20 years, Warhurst is a perfect match for the ‘Innit’ project, bringing her two passions of working with young people and performing, together.
Amy says: “After leaving school, I quickly learned that I loved working with children and young people as much as I loved performing and have spent the last two decades doing both. When ‘Innit’ came up it was a dream come true and I’m super excited to be back on home territory in Salford where I worked and lived for many years.”
Also announced is Leslie Davidoff, 76, who will play JK, a music shop owner based on Manchester’s legendary Jonny Roadhouse. Born in East London but now an honorary northerner after living in the North West for over 40 years, Leslie has previously been on the nations’ TV sets with appearances on Coronation Street and Peaky Blinders as well as performing in Oliver Twist on stage.
Ange Lea, a former Assistant Headteacher in Salford who left her career in education behind to become Deputy CEO of I4YPC, is particularly proud of how the charity has been able to give so many opportunities to such a broad and diverse range of performers. She said: “The cast and crew of ‘Innit’ embodies everything theatre and the Arts should be about, inclusivity and opportunity.
“We have some cast members who have experienced first hand what the story of Innit is all about, so it feels even more compelling to have them channelling their own experiences into the characters. This is a really exciting time and we can’t wait to get started with rehearsals here at our new home at Quayside MediaCity, all thanks to the Salford Loading initiative.”
Josie Cahill, Place Director at MediaCity, said: “This is exactly why Salford Loading was set up, to support and give opportunity to incredible community organisations such as I4YPC. The opportunities that Micky and the team are providing for local and young talent are so justified and we’re just glad we can help them realise their ambitions.”
What’s more, to reach as many young people as possible with the play’s message, tickets and public transport to the theatre will be free of charge for 1,200 of Salford’s young people between the age of 12 and 16.
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