Community theatre partnership gives students chance to shine on stage

Community theatre partnership gives students chance to shine on stage

Performing Arts students from New City College Ardleigh Green will be starring in the world premiere of a new play at the Queen’s Theatre.

This exciting opportunity has been offered to the 17 young actors through the growing partnership between the college in Ardleigh Green Road and the popular Hornchurch theatre.

The play, by acclaimed Essex writer Vickie Donoghue, is called The Flood and is bringing the local community together with the casting of two large ensembles – one group of late-teens (Ardleigh Green students) and one group of older people (local residents) – to join the main actors on stage.

Showing from 3rd March to 18th March, The Flood commemorates the 70th anniversary of the real-life disaster of 1953 in which 58 people lost their lives during a flood on Canvey Island.

Writer Vickie said: “It’s an exploration of a community over 100 years and, I hope, a love letter to Canvey and its brave people.

“The idea of casting people from the local community really excites me. It just feels right because in the end this play is all about people and relationships, family and friendship.”

A Queen’s Theatre spokesperson said it was the perfect piece to showcase the students and to further develop the partnership, formed in May 2022, between NCC Ardleigh Green campus and the theatre – see photos of students performing in The Flood, below, taken by Craig Sugden, along with photos of the partnership launch last year.

Vickie added that it is a tender and timely play about calling a place home – and what that really means. There are heart-in-the mouth moments as the story time-hops between the year 1953, the present day and the future of 2053.

It begins at the opening party of the War Memorial Community Hall in Canvey Island, on the stormy night just before the North Sea burst through the sea defence. The Performing Arts students play the close-knit group of young people at the party which is full of dancing, joy and celebration, before the island experiences the life-changing tragedy.

The drama then jumps forward to 2023, and the group are now in their 80s. Vickie says: “It’s another party in the hall, years later, but more like a tea dance.”

The play follows the success of the theatre’s recent scoop of five awards at the 13th Annual ‘Off West End Awards’, known as Offies. It took home the People’s Vote Award for Most Comfortable Theatre, as well as Best Online Info & Booking, Best Panto for Sleeping Beauty, Best Supporting Performance in a Play for Oliver Hembrough in All My Sons, and lastly a special one-off award for the theatre’s innovative Blueprint Festival 2022.

Tickets for The Flood start from £12.50 plus 65p QNext fee. Under 26s £8. For more details and to book, click here.

If you’re a recent Performing Arts or Acting graduate looking to break into theatre, the Queen’s Theatre is offering 12 paid placements for backstage parts in The Flood. Find out more information and apply online