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Harry Potter star returns to his Norfolk roots to help inspire young actors

PUBLISHED: 18:30 03 April 2017 | UPDATED: 09:40 09 April 2017

Harry Potter actor Sam Clemmett, front right, with the performers from the MoCo Theatre Company at work on their first production A Clockwork Orange. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Harry Potter actor Sam Clemmett, front right, with the performers from the MoCo Theatre Company at work on their first production A Clockwork Orange. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

He is currently starring in the most magical show in London’s West End, but this week Norfolk actor Sam Clemmett has returned to his home county to work with a cast of young performers on their new show.

Harry Potter actor Sam Clemmett with his former tutor Michelle Montague, artistic director of MoCo Theatre Company at the company's rehearsal of their first production. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYHarry Potter actor Sam Clemmett with his former tutor Michelle Montague, artistic director of MoCo Theatre Company at the company's rehearsal of their first production. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Clemmett - who plays Harry Potter’s son Albus in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - is patron of MoCo Theatre Company, a new group set up by his former drama teacher Miche Montague and which is preparing for its first production, A Clockwork Orange.

The 23-year-old former Thorpe St Andrew School pupil from Brundall spent this afternoon working with the show’s performers ahead of a work-in-progress performance to an invited audience.

Mr Clemmett said he was really impressed with what the company had created so far and his key words of wisdom to the cast were to “be bold and listen.”

“I cannot wait to see how this [show] is going to develop. It’s a brilliant play, very bold and very daring,” he said.

Harry Potter actor Sam Clemmett, front centre, with the performers from the MoCo Theatre Company at work on their first production A Clockwork Orange. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYHarry Potter actor Sam Clemmett, front centre, with the performers from the MoCo Theatre Company at work on their first production A Clockwork Orange. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mr Clemmett, who honed his craft at the Norwich Theatre Royal arts courses where Ms Montague was a tutor, paid tribute to how she had helped him on his road to the West End.

“I owe Miche so, so much. She allowed me space to feel very safe and to fail and be creative, and to be bold and dangerous, and that’s what a lot of people don’t get,” he said.

“Miche’s passion for the arts was inspiring for me and I wanted [to get involved in MoCo] to give something back and be part of the arts in Norwich.”

He said he felt incredibly lucky to have been cast in the Harry Potter play.

Performers from the MoCo Theatre Company during rehearsal of their first production A Clockwork Orange. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPerformers from the MoCo Theatre Company during rehearsal of their first production A Clockwork Orange. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“I didn’t quite believe the part was mine until we had the first day of rehearsals,” he said, adding the first preview night was a night he would especially remember forever.

“There was so much suspense and tension riding on this first show, no-one knew what the story was, the play wasn’t out there, and then the play began and it was like a rock concert. The audience were with us every single step of the way and hung on our every single word.”

Ms Montague said she felt really proud when she watched Mr Clemmett perform in the Harry Potter play, and that it was wonderful to have her former student on board with the MoCo Theatre Company.

She explained that she had decided to set up MoCo because she felt more support was needed in Norwich for aspiring actors after they turn 18.

Performers from the MoCo Theatre Company during rehearsal of their first production A Clockwork Orange. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPerformers from the MoCo Theatre Company during rehearsal of their first production A Clockwork Orange. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“It is for them. I am passionate that all these young people, who have all those ambitions that Sam had, have somewhere to help them flourish,” she said.

A Clockwork Orange is at Shoe Factory Social Club from May 11 to 15. Tickets £12 (£10 students). Visit www.mocotheatre.com

See Thursday’s Arts and Culture section for the full interview with Sam Clemmett.

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