Seagull Youth Theatre set to soar once more in Lowestoft

The Seagull Rep in a performance of Rat in the Skull.
Pictures is John Hales with Reece Ritchie The Seagull Rep in a performance of Rat in the Skull. Pictures is John Hales with Reece Ritchie

Monday, September 1, 2014
8:30 AM

A youth theatre is being relaunched in Lowestoft this week – after a break of more than eight years.

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Dwayne Johnson, who plays Hercules, and Reece Ritchie (right), playing Iolaus, in Hercules.  Picture: PADwayne Johnson, who plays Hercules, and Reece Ritchie (right), playing Iolaus, in Hercules. Picture: PA

Children aged five to 12 are being invited to attend a free taster session on Wednesday as the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield reopens its popular youth theatre.

Having helped set Lowestoft actor Reece Ritchie on the path to stardom, the Seagull Youth Theatre also boasts writer/director John Hales – who went on to manage the Seagull – among its former pupils.

Tutors Will Isgrove and Ed Mascon will be running the new youth theatre, along with administrators Angela Freakley and Karen Read.

Mrs Freakley said: “When the council owned the Seagull Theatre they ran a very successful youth theatre for children aged from nine upwards. It ran for many years, starting in the late 1960s right up until the closure in 2006.

“John Hales joined the group to gain confidence when he was about seven years old, and eventually took on the role of leader for three years from 1994 to 1997. He talks of these days with great fondness.”

She said that as well as Mr Hales and Mr Ritchie, many other ex-pupils had gone on to work in the acting and theatre profession, including Michelle Long, Jonny Goddard and the technical and operations manager at the Marina Theatre, Karl Dunnett.

She added: “We are reopening the Seagull Youth Theatre with a free taster session on Wednesday.”

The theatre plans to run sessions for two age groups on Wednesdays – one from 5-6pm for children aged between five and eight, and one from 6.15pm to 7.15pm for nine to 12-year-olds.

“Hopefully, once these get established we will offer an older age group for 13-year-olds upwards, which will become the Junior Rep Company and will then filter into the Seagull Rep Company,” Mrs Freakley said.

“It will run as an 11-week term and the pupils will have the chance to work on drama, dance, musical theatre, scriptwork and improvisations and the technical side of theatre.”

For information on fees, booking a place, joining the taster session or if you want more details, call the Seagull Theatre on 01502 589726.

■ Have you got a Lowestoft story? Email your details to mark.boggis@archant.co.uk

Pictures show: Reece Ritchie and, right, John Hales in a Seagull Theatre production of Rat in the Skull. And Reece Ritchie in the big-budget summer 2014 movie release Hercules.

Pictures: Submitted and PA.

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