Teachers who like a bit of drama

by ANTONY CLAY

Cut-up Theatre Company’s cast of ‘Immaculate’. From left to right are, back: Lewis Wilding as Angel Gabriel, Oscar Brockbank as Lucifer, front: Hannah Mitchell as Rebecca, Suzy Dix as Mia and Anthony Lancashire as Michael. 190408-1

TWO teachers have demonstrated their love of live drama by setting up their own theatre company.

Cut-Up Theatre Company performed its first show in March and the two men behind it are now looking to the future.

They hope to stage a range of productions and as time goes on create new original works.

But they will be staging their productions in venues such as community centres, village halls and even pubs and museums as they try to take drama to the people rather than expecting the audience to venture to a theatre.

Anthony Lancashire and Adam Hart, drama teachers at Wickersley School, have big plans for the Cut-Up Theatre Company and want it to be a real community effort.

Members of Cut-up Theatre Company in rehearsal for ‘Immaculate’.

Their first show, Oliver Lansley’s adult comedy Immaculate, was performed with a cast of six at The Wesley Centre, Maltby, in March.

It was directed by Adam and Anthony was one of the cast.

But getting the theatre company and first show under way has been two years in the making.

Anthony, who is chairman of the company and produced the first show, said: “We plan to do one show a year to start with. We want to start out quite small and not be over-ambitious.

“We hope to do two or three shows a year eventually, and then original works.

Member of Cut-up Theatre Company in rehearsal for ‘Immaculate’.

“This is the first time either of us has set up a company from scratch. We do a full day’s teaching and then go home and get into drama company mode.

“It’s exciting, fun, stressful.

“The goal is to produce work of a professional standard with a love of amateur theatre.

“People can come and be part of something and feel involved.”

Anthony said that putting on the first show was helped by support from the Wesley Centre where it was staged and lighting company Chris Hamblin Lighting Solutions.

But the pair didn’t go cap in hand asking for cash to fund the production. Instead, they stumped up the cash to finance the show themselves.

“We thought it would be remiss to gamble with other people’s money if we did not risk our own first,” said Anthony.

Members of Cut-up Theatre Company in rehearsal for ‘Immaculate’.

He said that starting the project was “the lure of doing something different” and the opportunity to perform in unusual venues.

“I have been part of various different amateur theatre companies and I have enjoyed being part of every single one of them, but I always wanted to be in one which performs at alternative spaces,” said Anthony.

“People go to the Rotherham Civic because it’s the Rotherham Civic but the Wesley Centre is not an established theatrical venue.

“It gives access to people who might not be able to access theatre normally.

“Why not try and educate people about theatre?

“People can go and watch a quality show for an affordable price.”

Both Anthony and Adam have been involved in lots of amateur companies across South Yorkshire, and Anthony admitted that he had always been drawn to performance.

He said: “From a young age I have always enjoyed telling stories. I remember me and my sister dressing up as our grandparents.

“I have always loved going to the theatre and telling stories. I was always sporty and theatrical at school

Members of Cut-up Theatre Company in rehearsal for ‘Immaculate’.

“I think my mum and dad pushed me into drama.

“I am yet to find a style of performance that does not interest me. For me the best theatre is stylised and fast-paced and tells a good story.

“As an audience member I like it to take me on a journey.”

Anthony said that he hoped that more and more people would get involved in the Cut-Up Theatre Company as actors, set designers, writers or helping market productions via social media.

Anthony, who gained his Drama degree at Lincoln University, said: “I want it to grow. I want this to be a real community. We are a non-profit community theatre company.

“I would welcome people reaching out to us via social media and asking to be involved in some way.”

Anthony added that the company is aimed at people aged over 18 and that he was happy for it to work anywhere across South Yorkshire.

But he insisted that the shows would be as professional as any big theatre production.

“We pride ourselves at school of working with kids and demanding the highest standards from them so we want the highest standards of ourselves,” said Anthony.

“I don’t like the idea of things being half-hearted. If you are going to do anything you should make a good job of it.”

Members of Cut-up Theatre Company in rehearsal for ‘Immaculate’.

But Anthony is already thinking big about future shows. While they are currently limited to plays with just one set, he wanted future shows to be more adventurous.

“As it grows we can be more ambitious and have larger casts and bigger sets,” he said.

“It’s not easy to get started and we have got to keep banging on that door. You have got to keep spreading the word about it.

“There is a market for it, to do something different.

“For now it’s very much a hobby and I love my job teaching but I would not rule out running the theatre company full-time if it got big enough.

“If you are going to dream, dream big.”

Anthony admitted that he is always nervous when he goes on stage but that the nerves disappear when he gets out in front of the audience.

He said that he hoped the new theatre company’s productions would inspire his students.

“It’s nice for my students to know I have still got it and am an active practitioner,” said Anthony.

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