Talented teens’ Greek tragedy

Sam Starkey, Freya Greaves, Luke Marsden, Will Swift
Sam Starkey, Freya Greaves, Luke Marsden, Will Swift

Theatrical teens are taking to the stage this week.

Freya Greaves, Sam Starkey, Will Swift and Luke Marsden are all appearing in a production of Children of Hercules at Derby Theatre.

The teenagers, all from the Matlock area, are members of the Derby LIVE Youth Theatre.

The production has been adapted by writer Peter Roberts from a play by ancient Greek playwright Euripides and first performed in 430BC.

Will, of Matlock, started out in acting when he was very young, but left it in order to pursue his passion for football.

Now aged 16, the Lady Manners School pupil has caught the acting bug again.

From his first audition with the group he managed to secure the principle role of Kopreus, a child murdering tyrant.

The teenager is relishing playing the part of someone so different from himself and hopes to pursue a career in acting when he is older.

Seventeen-year-old Luke, also from Matlock, has been given the part of Kopreus’s arch nemisis – Demophon.

Despite the fact that the play was written thousands of years ago and has not been performed on stage in this country since the 1770s, the boys said they thought it was still relevant today.

“My character is a democratic leader,” Luke explains.

“He doesn’t wish to be involved in conflict, but when push comes to shove he certainly gives the shove.

“It feels relevant because it deals with issues like conflict and xenophobia.”

The Highfields School pupil has been acting for some time has been able to get a role as an extra on BBC drama Waterloo Road, as well as auditions from Les Miserables and Holby City.

14-year-old Freya, of Carsington, and 16-year-old Sam, of Wirksworth, both attend Anthony Gell School.

Both of them are in their first year with the theatre group.

“I love drama,” Sam says.

“The theatre is something that I really want to get into.”

The teen is currently taking GCSE drama and has performed in a few productions in Matlock and at school.

“We have a part called ‘The Virus’ – they are like the chorus but evil,” Sam explains.

Freya has to psych herself up to get into character for her dark role.

“You kind of have to detach yourself from who you are really because I have to attack a child,” she says.

Sam is eager to pursue his passion to pursue his passion to drama school, however Freya has other plans for her future.

“I like it not as a profession, but as a hobby,” she explains.

“I want to be an architect.”

While keen to make their mark on the industry, the young actors are realistic about the difficulties they may face.

Will says: “There is variety in it but it can be really hard to get work – that’s the downfall.

“It’s really hard to get any auditions unless you know people.”

Derby LIVE Youth Theatre is for young people aged nine to 19.

Further information on the group is available by visiting www.derbylive.co.uk/youththeatre.aspx.

Children of Hercules will be performed at Derby Theatre until Saturday.

Ticket information is available by calling the box office on 01332 255800.