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Your Champions 2017: Milestone year for youth theatre group

Little Actors Theatre Company from Neston nominated as the Team of the Year

Little Actors Theatre Company in Neston has had a £2,000 grant from Neston Town Council. Mayor Mike Shipman dropped in with their certificate

An award winning performing arts group for children and young people in Neston has been nominated for a Your Champions award.

Little Actors Theatre Company, whose artistic director is Samantha Giblin, includes the InterACT Youth Theatre, Neston Young Writers, a theatre club and Drama Tots. It offers a range of opportunities with discounts for low income families.

And now the group has been nominated as the Team of the Year in the 2017 Your Champions awards.

The annual Your Champions search for the unsung heroes and heroines of our community reaches its 30th year in 2017.

Every year for the past three decades, Trinity Mirror Cheshire has teamed up with ScottishPower Foundation to throw the spotlight on those people and groups who go above and beyond to make their communities a better place to live.

Little Actors in Neston running a summer course for children(Image: UGC TCH)

The nomination follows a successful 12 months for Little Actors Theatre Company.

The autumn term last year saw Neston Young Writers commissioned by Neston Town Council to write a new one man show for performance at the town’s Christmas Victorian Market.

This was performed by actor, writer and director Mike Lockley with a little help from ‘extras’ from the audience. The theatre club also performed Christmas-themed songs and dances at the Christmas market.

This spring Neston Town Hall played host to a showcase celebrating the talents of the Theatre Club, InterACT Youth Theatre and the group’s adult tap class as well as featuring LAMDA (the London Academy of Music and Art) pieces being prepared for examination in the summer.

InterACT Youth Theatre presented The Snow Dragons by Liverpool playwright Lizzie Nunnery in Neston Civic Hall as part of the group’s National Theatre Connections work. The play transferred to the Lowry in Salford where the cast performed on the stage of The Quays Theatre.

“The feedback from this show was fabulous and the cast loved performing in a professional theatre,” said Samantha. “They made the most of the opportunities on offer from the National Theatre.”

The summer term involved eight theatre club and two InterACT Youth Theatre members taking their LAMDA exams, all of whom passed. The eight grade 1 children all received merits and the grade 2 and grade 5 boys both got distinctions.

The children have also performed song and dance routines with tracks from The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins at Neston Village Fair, The Big Lunch/Great Get Together and Parkgate Carnival.

The theatre club has already started work on devising a new play to be entered in the under 12s Leverhulme Drama Festival next year. Puppets and music have been mentioned as well as fairy tales.

InterACT Youth Theatre ‘well and truly peaked this year’ according to Samantha entering the Leverhulme Drama Festival with The Snow Dragons.

Their adjudication was ‘fabulous’ with a score of 84 marks which was not just the highest youth group but the highest scoring English group.

Sadly even though they qualified for the regional semi-finals they could not go but were invited to the National Drama Festivals Association All Winners British Final in Yorkshire.

InterACT also won trophies for the under 16 category in the festival and the adjudicator’s award for best play which he described as ‘a stunning production’.

Little Actors Theatre Company as a whole won the Cheshire West Voluntary Arts Network award for work with children and young people with the group receiving the award at a ceremony at Chester Town Hall.

During the year Little Actors also secured funding from Neston Town Council, the borough council and the John Thaw Foundation and support from local businesses.

Later this year, a panel of judges from Trinity Mirror and ScottishPower will come up with shortlists for all five categories in the 2017 Your Champions awards scheme – Person, Young Person, Team, Volunteer and Sporting.

All finalists will be invited to a glittering gala, red carpet event at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chester on Friday, November 17 with Olympic silver and medallist Colin Jackson CBE on hand to present awards to this year’s successful champions who will be announced on the night.

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