Starring Role For Blackpool Youngsters

Left to right Charlotte Cartmull, Emily Mansell, Shane Rice, Jeremy Lee

Published: Thursday 19 November 2015

Talented performers from Blackpool and The Fylde College are getting ready to shine on the big stage with a Cole Porter classic.

Kiss Me Kate will grace the Spanish Hall at the Winter Gardens on 25 and 26 November, with cast and crew drawn from aspiring students in their final year of a degree in Musical Theatre.

Billed as three hours of immersive and exposed theatre, the production follows a theatrical company as they work towards the opening night of a musical based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Backstage functions such as costume changes and choreography therefore become part of the show and the audience will be surprised to see how much is taking place around them.

People will also be surprised at how talented the cast are, according to director and course leader, Michael Holdsworth.

“This is the culmination of three years’ work,” he said. “It’s something they have worked towards from joining the ensemble when they first started, through involvement in past productions of Carousel and West Side Story before taking the spotlight in Anything Goes at the Blackpool Grand Theatre, last year which got rave reviews. For the audience it’s a chance to see emerging new talent at its rawest before they leap into the professional industry.”

Female lead Charlotte Catmull (playing Lilli-Vanessi/Katherine), steps out from the shadows of last year’s understudy, which she feels made her stronger as a performer.

She said: “I don’t think I could have pulled this role off without it, although the idea of performing on a big stage in Blackpool hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”

The production has handed an interesting opportunity to Emily Mansell, making her debut as assistant director, but also getting to play herself on stage.

“While I enjoy the performing side of things, I find it much easier to get the best out of other performers than myself,” she said. “It’s definitely a career I want to pursue.”

Shane Rice, who takes on the male lead of Fred, is relishing the more serious parts of the play, adding:

“We’re developing into different types of character from the comedic in Anything Goes. Now I feel confident that I can do more work outside of College.”

Meanwhile Jeremy Lee (Gremio), has the chance to show off his skills as a dancer.

“Everyone’s individual skills have been recognised and casting has been arranged around that,” he said.

Tickets for Kiss Me Kate are £15 or £10 for concessions, with evening and matinee performances available. Tickets can be purchased from the Winter Gardens box office or by calling 08445861111.

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