I’ve seen Hetty Feather adapted for the stage by Leeds Playhouse a few years ago. And now it’s York Theatre Royal’s turn! Youth Theatre Director Kate Veysey will direct the Emma Reeves adaptation this summer.
The show, an adaptation of the very popular Jacqueline Wilson book, finds Hetty escaping to the circus where she finds plenty of adventure and excitement.
A whopping cast of 45 young people will perform alongside Laura Soper, the only professional cast member. She’s a former member of YTR Youth Theatre herself and appeared in Swallows & Amazons. I personally thought she did a cracking job and would recommend seeing her perform if you can, she has a lovely charismatic stage presence.
Though you’d assume Laura would be playing the lead role, Hetty Feather is actually being played by Hannah Brown, 18, who has previously appeared in the main house productions of His Dark Materials and The Witches.
Hannah says: “From reading the story I knew immediately that I wanted to audition for the role of Hetty, the chance to play such a challenging and complex character was not one I was going to miss. I’m looking forward to working with a great cast, especially the elephant!”
The elephant (Elijah) she’s talking about is a huge life-size puppet made by Marc Parrett from Puppets 4 Peas. After a frantic international search to find the right elephant for the production, the Youth Theatre realised Marc was the only man for the job. He’s only got four days to make the puppet, so let’s hope he pulls it off!
The production features plenty of wow moments, with aerial choreography and hoops by choreographer Jen Parry (of High Hoops in Deighton). Twelve members of the Youth Theatre, alongside Laura, are training for two months to perfect the skill!
This isn’t a normal theatre production – this is an absolute spectacular complete with circus tricks and staggeringly talented young people. Though I haven’t obviously seen this version, the stunning show at Leeds Playhouse gave me plenty of jaw-dropping moments and I can only assume the talented team over in York will work to do the same.
Kate Veysey says: “This is the largest and most ambitious main house production I’ve ever directed. I’m really excited to work with such a brilliant creative team as well as actor Laura Soper, with whom I’ve previously worked with as a member of our Youth Theatre, and 45 young people who will be spending 200 hours creating this epic show.”
Catch the show at York Theatre Royal from 30th August – 1st September.