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‘Hard times’ for arts students

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TWENTY Performing arts students from Calderdale College are involved in a unique project with Northern Broadsides inspired by its latest production Hard Times.

The students met writers, production staff and actors at the Viaduct Theatre rehearsal rooms for the first time recently at the start of a parallel exercise in which they will explore their experiences of education - one of the dominant themes of Dickens’ novel.

They are being mentored by Georgia Alffonso a member of The Writing Squad - a development programme for writers aged between 16 and 21 living in the north of England.

Georgia is on a secondment with Broadsides and will transform the students’ work into a play for the stage - to be performed some time in April to an invited audience - as part of her own development.

“My plan is to do different types of theatre to give them different options of telling their experiences of education and how they might want to change things and also look at parallels between that and Hard Times,” said Georgia.

Broadsides’ Conrad Nelson sees great potential in the collaboration.

“It’s about an ongoing potential relationship with education in the local area - us, the college and other people - and the best way to do it is to get stuck in like this,” he said.

Sophie Dixon, the students’ performing arts lecturer added: “It’s about getting them to think outside the box and engage in a wider debate about education.”

lNorthern Broadsides production of Hard Times runs from February 16-24 at the Viaduct Theatre, Halifax. For tickets go to northern-broadsides.co.uk or call 01422 255266.