Ellesmere Port has acquired a ‘national’ treasure.
Just off the town’s historic high street, Chalice Productions has announced its youth performance group The Boaty Theatre Company is among those selected throughout the country to take part in the National Theatre Connections Festival 2018.
Chalice, which sets out to provide performing arts opportunities for all, believes ‘incredible opportunities abound’ as it prepares to relaunch the youth theatre.
The ‘wonderful news’ about the festival landed as the creative development crew at Chalice were planning a new recruitment drive ‘to discover, coach and promote yet more local, talented and energetic young performers’.
Head of design Terasa Newton said: “The problem with our brilliant and gifted youngsters is that they keep growing up!”
A delighted Chalice artistic director Laura J Harris commented: “Being selected to take part in the National Theatre Connections Festival is an incredible achievement and a massive honour that will bring great opportunities both directly to the young people involved and to the wider area of the town besides.
“It will place Ellesmere Port securely on the map in terms of the creative and performing arts industry at a national level.”
Based at the National Waterways Museum and led by Laura, The Boaty was originally established in 2010. The first group of young actors trained and developed their skills to perform ‘an inspired’ adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in February 2011 under Laura’s guidance.
Many of the young people who were among the founding members of the theatre company have since graduated to become part of the Chalice Productions repertory company appearing in numerous productions, seasons and live performance events in both traditional theatres and ‘some wild and wonderful spaces’ according to Laura.
As part of the 400-year celebrations of Shakespeare’s life and works, Chalice Productions were invited last year to produce a season of some of the bard’s most loved comedies and tragedies which were all performed over just four months at the iconic St George’s Hall in Liverpool.
Playfully titled Where There’s a Will.... the Shakespeare season, the first of its kind and scale to be produced in Liverpool, was described as a ‘great success, well received, well reviewed and enjoyed by all’.
“At the very heart and core of everything we do at Chalice Productions and The Boaty Theatre Company is a desire and a drive to see local people succeed and achieve their potential,” said Laura.
“Over the past seven years we’ve worked with and encouraged local young people and particularly disadvantaged youth to reach for the stars in terms of achieving their dreams.”
Local actor Curtis Ledsham, now in his third year of study at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA), was involved with both The Boaty and Chalice Productions prior to being accepted onto a course at ALRA.
“Laura suggested I audition for the ALRA Foundation course and even drove me through to the campus during an intense production week,” explained Curtis.
“Three years later and I am currently in my second year BA Hons acting degree and loving every minute.
“I know that I would never have been able to achieve this without the help and support of Chalice Productions and the opportunities they provided.
“When you join Chalice you don’t just make friends, you are introduced to a family who will stay with you forever throughout your training and beyond. I know I would never be where I am without them.”
Anyone aged between 13-19 who would like details of how to become part of The Boaty can find more details by visiting www.ChaliceProductions.org, phoning Laura or Terasa on 0151 355 0367 or by emailing email@example.com.