Amateur theatre groups get Stagestruck with Sky Arts

Intimate Theatre, Palmers Green, London: Image: ATV Network 2006Sky Arts in search of  the UK’s greatest amateur theatre groups in Stagestruck.

A list of glittering theatre luminaries have joined Stagestruck as part of the nationwide search for Britain’s best amateur theatre groups.

Roger Allam, Martin Shaw, Julie Graham, Paterson Joseph, Richard Wilson, Niamh Cusack, Jill Halfpenny and Dame Harriet Walter will become mentors for the eight groups that have impressed the most.

“This is an extraordinary list of mentors who are, without doubt, amongst some of the finest actors to ever tread the boards.” commented James Hunt, channel director of Sky Arts. “Each group will learn an incredible amount under their careful guidance, hopefully enough to impress the judges all the way to the final.”

Each actor has been assigned to one group, who they will work with to practice, develop and hone their theatrical skills in preparation for their appearance before the panel of judges, the award-winning actress Miriam Margolyes, producer Bill Kenwright and formidable theatre critic Quentin Letts.

The groups’ mentors are:

  • FissiParous Theatre of Wirral, mentored by Roger Allam
  • Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group of Edinburgh, mentored by Niamh Cusack
  • Heath Players of Hatfield, mentored by Julie Graham
  • Regent Rep of Christchurch, mentored by Jill Halfpenny
  • Crossmichael Drama Club of Castle Douglas, mentored by Paterson Joseph
  • Tell Tale Theatre Company of Liverpool, mentored by Martin Shaw
  • Strathclyde Theatre Group of Glasgow, mentored by Dame Harriet Walter
  • Bingley Little Theatre of Bingley, mentored by Richard Wilson

The new series will explore the stories, commitment and passion of the members of the amateur theatres as they fine tune their craft to impress the judges. The finalists will be mentored by British stars of stage and screen while cameras will follow their every move as they hone their performances. Two groups will be knocked out of the competition in the first two rounds as the judges whittle down the groups to the final winner.

“Working with actors of this calibre is extremely exciting and it’s a privilege to watch them in action as mentors,” said Nicolas Kent of Oxford Film and Television, executive producer of Stagestruck. “They’re opening a window into the craft of acting and it will be a genuinely unique insight for viewers”.

The winning group will perform a play at a top London West End theatre. The series begins on Sky Arts next summer.