Meet the Blackpool Grand Twelve

Meet the Blackpool Grand Twelve

11 October 2016

Read all about this week's community cast for A Tale of Two Cities in Blackpool!

Two Cities Twelves

A Tale of Two Cities arrives at its fourth stop on tour — Blackpool! We'll be there from Tuesday 11th - Saturday 15th October. The Grand Theatre is one of Britain’s premier heritage theatres. Listed Grade II*, this Matcham theatre is in the top eight per cent of all listed buildings in England, and one of only thirty listed buildings in Blackpool. It is one of only nine large theatres listed Grade II* or above, north of London. 

A Tale of Two Cities is currently touring the UK from 20 September until 26 November 2016. Each week we arrive in a new city or town, we'll be working with a new cast of people from the local community. We're calling them the Twelves! Why? Well, they'll be joining our professional cast on stage as citizens of this Dickensian world, either as unruly mobs or jury members. Twelve is, of course, the size of a jury! 


So who's in the Blackpool Twelve?

Helena Ascough Helena Ascough

Why did you want to be a part of this production?
Broaden my knowledge and experience of acting. I have watched the production company’s productions of Brave New World and Of Mice and Men and knew that the play would be of an extremely high standard. To be involved is a fantastic opportunity for a young actor like myself.

What are you looking forward to from taking part?
I am looking forward to working with and being inspired by, new professional people and working in a professional stage environment.

What has been your experience of theatre so far?
I am currently an actor at the Blackpool Tower Dungeon. Recently I have performed at the Grand Theatre as Blind Pew in Treasure Island and I played the Mum in Blackout with the National Theatre Youth programme (NT Connections). I am also involved in other various projects in and around Blackpool.

Interesting fact?
I am an avid Dr Marten’s boot collector and during high school my nickname was Luna Lovegood.

 

 

 


Jack Bell Jack Bell

Why did you want to be a part of this production?
I wanted to work with a high calibre theatre company and be involved in a production where I would gain invaluable experience as an actor. I wanted to engross myself with leading professionals by working alongside such talented and like-minded creatives. I feel it's key as an actor to be surrounded by people who have the same goal of performing and who take their craft seriously.


What has been your experience of theatre so far?
I've worked for touring theatre companies before and have enjoyed the performance aspect, which was working with TIE companies and also non-profit productions.

 

Interesting fact?
After travelling L.A. last year for networking and to attend workshops such as the Beverley Hills Playhouse and the Groundlings Theatre School of Comedy. I am now currently working on obtaining my O-1 visa to work across the pond as an actor to extend my work experience. This can be a lengthy and drawn out process so patience is key. 

 

 

 

 


Carol CaineCarol Caine

Why did you want to be a part of this production?
It's a dream to perform at the Blackpool Grand Theatre, a jewel of a theatre in the north-west and we are so lucky to have it. Additionally, it'll be exciting to work with a professional company and gain an insight into how the production gets on stage. 

 

What has been your experience of theatre so far? 
I have a degree in theatre studies and have been performing since age 10. Despite my career going in a different direction (I was a Probation Officer for 15 years), I've always performed and have been lucky to perform with professional local touring theatres in community venues providing immersive theatrical experiences. I've recently resigned as Probation Officer to see how far I get with acting. 

Funny story?
I was 'attacked' by a plastic dummy in a well-known lingerie store. I sustained concussion!

 

 

 

 

 


 Myrto PavlakiMyrto Pavlaki

Why did you want to be a part of this production?
Seeing A Tale of Two Cities in Northampton, I was amazed by the whole production. Its aesthetics reach a high level, the actors’ performance was perfectly delivered and their objectives were strong throughout the show. The directing gave to this Dickens’ story a fresh air and made it very interesting and watchable. All these elements made me want to be involved in this production and luckily I became a part of it.

 

What are you looking forward to from taking part?
I am looking forward to meeting all these talented actors, the director and the whole staff that made this production so good. I would like to learn from all of them and become a better performer. 

 

What has been your experience of theatre so far?
I was a student in the School of Drama, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece where I was studying Drama, Acting, Directing, Scenography and Costume Design. During my studies, I participated in various productions at university.  Then, I came to the UK. I am currently an acting student in my last year of the BA (Hons) Acting course in Blackpool and the Fylde University Centre. There, I participated in many of my course’s productions, such as Consensual by Evan Placey and Pornography by Simon Stephens.

I was also a part of Drimthinkspeak Team’s Absent shows in Blackpool Winter Gardens.

 

Interesting fact?
I help children with ADD be confident using acting games and techniques. 

 


Amy Louise TickleAmy Louise Tickle

Why did you want to be a part of this production? 
I’m incredibly in love with all forms of theatre and this was such a perfect opportunity to gain more experience. Secondly, because I've never had the opportunity to audition or be a part of a production set in this period of history. It’s definitely something new to keep my mind active, giving me some fresh to think about and work on. An adaptation of Charles Dickens Great Expectations was one of the first plays I ever watched, it gave me a feel for Dickens' words spoken aloud.  Thirdly, there aren’t that many opportunities in our area to get involved in and to work with professional theatre companies is an opportunity and experience that doesn’t come around very often.

 

What are you looking forward to from taking part? 
Gaining more experience within a professional environment. Acting being the career pathway I would love to pursue and having attended ALRA drama school in London for a short while, you realise that you learn most in an environment of like-minded people, all wanting to achieve the same thing. So I am very much looking forward to every aspect of the process, which will differ from the usual productions I have been in with younger casts.

 

What has been your experience of theatre so far?
I have been involved with theatre from a young age, training at Whittakers Dance and Drama Centre in Blackpool. Throughout my journey at the centre, I have performed at the Grand Theatre over 20 times in various productions. I have also been involved with amateur companies around Blackpool, most recently taking the lead in Cinderella at the Grand Theatre which won an award for Best Pantomime in the North West region last year. I was also involved with  Youth Music Theatre UK in an adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Soul Music at the Rose Theatre, Kingston. My passion has always been theatre and last year I started a degree course in Acting.

 

Funny story? 
From a young age, I believed stories, theatre, film and TV were all real. I had a very vivid imagination. When I was six, I walked to the top of my stairs and peered down ready to go down for breakfast. When I got to the third step down, there was suddenly a flash of lightning outside my house and a shadow of a man looking in appeared at my front door. I cried, screamed, wailed, it was crazy! You can imagine how traumatised a six-year-old would feel towards this event. My mum noticed the lightning had marked the pathway to our house. Ever since that day, I have believed someone is watching and waiting for me outside my front door. As soon as it goes dark, I have a phobia of my front door — not anybody’s front door — just mine. I have to run past it at great speed or ensure someone tells me it’s safe to pass. Technically it's number 13, so I basically classify myself as living in a haunted house!

It’s a true phobia!

 


Mark WalshMark Walsh

Why did you want to be a part of this production?

I am really keen to explore and learn more about theatre. The production seemed just right and the Grand is such a beautiful theatre. It holds so many great memories for me. I couldn’t let this opportunity pass.

 

What are you looking forward to from taking part?

I am new to theatre, it’s a massive learning curve! One of the hardest things I have experienced so far is to ‘do nothing’. It’s almost like delivering your lines is the easy bit in comparison to standing there and looking busy or interested. As a member of the Twelves, I am hoping to get a new level of understanding about being in a scene but not being the centre of attention. I have heard lots of great things about Touring Consortium Theatre Company and it sounds like there is some fun to be had along the way.

 

What has been your experience of theatre so far?

I am no stranger to the stage but as a host and compere, I have been MCing events and weddings for the last 10 years and prior to that a radio presenter and DJ. Recently, I took to the stage in Preston as Widow Twankey in Aladdin. I LOVED being a dame! This is what started my craving for more theatre.

 

Interesting fact?
I am the co-founder of BPM, the biggest DJ show in the world. It runs at The NEC annually and I am its current CEO.

 

 


Brogen Whalley Brogen Whalley

Why did you want to be a part of this production?
Originally, I was applying for the Young Reporter Scheme, but having mentioned in my application that I am a young performer, I was given the opportunity to actually be part of the production itself. I joined because I crave extra experience and as an aspiring actor, I will literally turn my hand to anything which is acting related. So this was a fabulous opportunity for me.

 

What are you looking forward to from taking part?
Getting out there and performing! However, what intrigues me even more, is seeing first hand how theatre works and what it takes to be a performer. A lot of people aspire to be performers but rarely get to see first hand the qualities that are needed, so I'm looking forward to working in a professional environment and feel I could learn from them.

 

What has been your experience of theatre so far?
A huge chunk of my theatre experience has been as a member of the audience, I am a huge theatre fan on and off stage. As a young child, I always auditioned for roles in school plays and turned my hand to anything that came my way. As I grew up I started to develop an even bigger passion for theatre and began auditioning for roles elsewhere.  I still have more learning to do and I look forward to it.

 

Interesting fact?
A few years ago, I went to Birmingham to help film a viral commercial for 'Ram Training' which was based on a zombie apocalypse. This was really cool because I was able to dress as a zombie for the day and spend my time on an industrial estate in Birmingham walking around like a mindless monster. It was awesome. I'm also an amateur musician and have done vocal work and played the guitar since I was 11. Music is one of my big passions in life, I see it a bit like drama in a sense that each song has a story to tell. I like stories!

 

 

 


A Tale of Two Cities opens at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where it plays from 10 to 17 September 2016. It then tours to Oxford Playhouse, Richmond Theatre, Bradford Alhambra, Blackpool Grand, Wolverhampton Grand, Brighton Theatre Royal, Edinburgh King's, Cheltenham Everyman and Nottingham Theatre Royal. 

Get tickets for this show by visiting our tour page.