The Accrington Pals

The Accrington Pals

by Peter Whelan

Directed by Lesley Strachan

Tuesday 18th -
Saturday 22nd March, 2014

The Tower Theatre performing
at the Bridewell Theatre

Photography by Ruth Anthony

Read cast member Richard Brent's diary on the preparations for the show

Tom : George Turner
May : Jillian Bradley
Arthur : Anthony Green
Reggie : Charlie Bailey
Ralph : Richard Brent
Eva : Amy Harrison
Annie : Jessica Hammett
Sarah : Michelle Fox
Bertha : Jenny Ross
CSM Rivers : Justin Stahley

Production Team
Director : Lesley Strachan
Set Design : Jude Chalk
Costume Design : Simona Hughes & Jessica Hammett
Lighting Design : Rob Irvine
Sound Design : Ruth Sullivan

Stage Manager : Sara George
ASMs : Tom Tillery, Lynn Facey
Lighting Operator : Michael Bettell or Shameem Matin
Sound Operator : Conor Byrne
Assistant Director : Simona Hughes
Dialect Coaches : Sue Brodie
Voice Coach : Julia Collier
Movement Coach : Lindsey Royan, Richard Kirby
Publicity Co-Ordinator : Sue Brodie
Set Construction and Get-in : Keith Syrett, Jude Chalk, Michael Bettell, Phillip Ley, Laurence Tuerk and members of the cast & crew

This is Justin Stahley's second production with the Tower. Last summer he played the troubled Semyon in Dying For It. Justin has also performed with the Putney Arts Theatre, playing Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and at the Questors Theatre where he played Jan in Rock and Roll. Outside of acting, Justin plays the drums and is currently working on a third studio album with his band The Helmholtz Resonators which is due to be released in the autumn this year!
He feels that it's of paramount importance that we never forget those affected by The Great War ... this is his small way of paying tribute to all such persons : men, women and children from all sides.

This is Richard Brent's first production for the Tower Theatre Company. He could last be seen playing Charlie in How To Disappear Completely And Never Be Found for Putney Arts Theatre (PAT) in October. Other productions for PAT in recent years include Clybourne Park, The Rivals, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream (playing Bottom, and subsequently revived at Questors for the RSC's "Open Stages"), Twelfth Night (playing Malvolio) and Six Degrees of Separation. He also performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival while a student at Oxford University. He is proud to be exploring the play's sensitive subject matter with such an excellent ensemble during the First World War Centenary.

Amy Harrison trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, graduating in 2011, and this is her first production with the Tower. Her previous roles have included Ophelia in Hamlet (MDCC Theatre Company), Miranda in The Tempest (MDCC Theatre Company), Abigail Williams in The Crucible (The Crescent Theatre), Lady Macbeth in Macbeth (The Crescent Theatre), Freya in Earthquakes in London (RADA), Cassius in Julius Caesar (RADA) and Sophia in When They Bloom (RADA).
Amy's ancestors hail from South Yorkshire, and her great-grandfather signed up in Barnsley in 1914 when he was only 17, joining the York and Lancaster regiment. In 1916, a few months before the Somme, he transferred to the Royal Marines. This decision probably saved his life. The attack on the Somme was led by his former regiment. He was gassed in the trenches in November 1916 and repatriated home to England, where he was not expected to survive, so he quickly married my great-grandmother just before Christmas 1916. He in fact recovered, went back to the front, was awarded two medals, and lived to the age of 82.

Jillian Bradley is playing May in her first role as a new Tower member. She trained in acting at City Lit (Access to HE Diploma and Foundation in Drama). She is also a professional portrait painter (BA Hons Fine Art, Painting) and formerly a Model (Editorial/Catwalk). Her acting roles include, on television : Jill Perry in The Work Experience (E4), Lisa Johnson in May Day, Second Coming, Call the Midwife (BBC), Top Boy, Misfits, Man Down (Channel 4), Fast Freddie and the Widow (ITV); in theatre : Bertha in Jane Eyre, Fat Annie in Market Boy (John Lyons Theatre), Spirit in Inferrno (Barbican Theatre); and on film : Paddington Bear, Before I go to Sleep and Closed Circuit.

Michelle Fox is an Irish actress and recent graduate from a Drama degree in University College Cork. Back in Ireland, her recent credits include Cleansed (Granary Theatre Productions), The Crucible, Ragtime the Musical (Everyman Palace), Bent, Serious Money and Into the Woods (Barespace Productions). New to English shores, she is excited to be working alongside this cast and crew in what hopes to be a great production. She wishes best of luck to everyone involved!

George Turner is in his first year at Central St Martins studying Performance Practice. This is his first show with the Tower theatre since moving to study in London. He was later to discover his dad acted with the company some 30 years ago. George has been involved with several amateur companies and is a member of the National Youth Theatre.

Anthony Green has been a member of the Tower Theatre since 2000 and made his first appearance in The Winter's Tale on the Canonbury stage and Paris. Since then he has appeared in Guys and Dolls (Harry the Horse), Design for Living (assorted parts), and Pygmalion (Henry Higgins). He has been a member of the National Student Theatre Company, and a company member of the Pendley Shakespeare Festival Company. At the Questors Theatre, he has appeared in The Lady in the Van, Hastings (Richard III), the Ballplayer (Insignificance), Morris (Present Laughter), and assorted parts in Titus Andronicus and Mary Stuart.

Charlie Bailey has been an undergraduate for the last year at "W1 Workshops". He has had great training from Nancy Sullivan and David Thaxton who are very much responsible for the progress that he hase made over the last few months. After hearing the stories from relatives about World War 1, he has always been interested in it at school and studied it. This made him all the more excited when he got the part of Reggie. For someone of his age reading this play, you discover different effects of the war and the impacts that it had on people.
He feels very lucky to have worked with Lesley and have enjoyed exploring Reggie and the other characters in the play. The rehearsal process has been excellent and to be part of this brilliant cast is great.

This is Jenny Ross' first Tower Theatre production. During her student days, she enjoyed distracting herself from a Modern Languages degree by performing in all sorts of productions with the Oxford University Drama Society, including four shows at the Edinburgh Fringe. The eclectic range of roles she played during this time included Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest, Charlotte Corday in Marat/Sade and Mr Toad in The Wind in the Willows. More recently, she's played Rosie in Flatspin (South London Theatre) and Leila in Rope (Troika Theatre).

Jessica Hammett has been a member of the Tower Theatre Company for two years, although this is the first production she has plucked up the courage to audition for. Her acting experience comes from university and the Edinburgh Fringe where appeared in productions including Lady Windermere's Fan (Duchess of Berwick), The Importance of Being Earnest (Lady Bracknell), Top Girls (Isabella Bird/Joyce), Bone (Helen) and Entertaining Mr Sloane (Kath). Currently run off her feet working as a PA at St Paul's School in Barnes, Jess read English at Oxford.