Actors work with Vertigo Theatre ahead of their production of ‘Rage’

When Warrington Collegiate’s budding young actors take to the stage later this term for their performance of Rage, they will have an added advantage, thanks to a visit from the writer of the play as well as one of the cast members from the original production.

Playwright and Director Craig Hepworth visited the Winwick Road Campus to speak to performing arts students about their upcoming performance of the play, which deals with the bullying, intimidation and tolerance behind a high school shooting in America. Students have been able to apply their knowledge of the ‘PREVENT duty’ and the ‘British Values’ to this insightful and moving play.

Craig, who formed Vertigo Theatre Productions in 2004 and previously worked as an actor, dancer and singer in the West End, was joined by one of the play’s lead actors, former Warrington Collegiate student Richard Allen.

Since studying performing arts at the College in 2011, Richard has gone on to make a name for himself in the world of Fringe theatre, having starred in a number of Craig’s productions including Rage, Last Dance, Mysterious Skin, Ascension and M.

Former Beamont Collegiate Academy student Andrea Williams-Davies, studying the Level 3 Performing Arts (Acting) Extended Diploma, said Craig and Richard’s visit will prove extremely useful.

She said: “We were able to speak to Craig and Richard ahead of casting about the script and how each role should be performed – being able to have the opportunity to get that insight from industry experts will be a massive help when we perform Rage next month.”

As well as sharing industry knowledge and useful tips that will help students during their own performance, Craig and Richard talked about their own personal experiences in the industry and how best to find that big break.

Craig described Richard as one of the best actors he has worked with, adding: “I have thrown a lot of different characters at Rich because he is one of those people who I know 100% will go away and make it.”

After leaving Warrington Collegiate, Rich spent a year at drama school in London before returning to the North West to work within the Fringe industry.

Rich said: “My time at Warrington Collegiate helped massively in getting me to where I am today. It was during my time here that I decided that acting is what I wanted to do.”

Michael Smith, Head of Faculty for Creative & Digital Industries, said: “It always fantastic to see how our former students are getting on the industry and to give our currents students the chance to hear from someone who, not too long ago, was exactly where they are now, is brilliant.

“Our students are extremely lucky at Warrington Collegiate to benefit from visits from industry experts like Craig and Richard, which is down to our fantastic links with industry. Being able to find out more about how Craig developed Rage from an initial idea into such a successful play will be extremely useful for our students.”