Call out for young performers

A community musical production is coming to the Dearne Playhouse Theatre later this year and the casting call is now open for young performers to take the starring roles.

Performing arts company The Big Reveal is looking for young amateur actors from Goldthorpe, Thurnscoe or Bolton Upon Dearne to help bring their amazing story, Heart of the Wood, to life.

The production is supported by Barnsley Council, Coalfields Regeneration England, and the UK Government’s Towns Fund through Goldthorpe Town Board. It will take place in early December at the Dearne Playhouse, which is being refurbished through Towns Fund investment. Producers need a girl aged between 12 and 16 to play the starring role of Megan, and a boy aged 9-11 to play her brother Jake.

They will be helped by professional directors and perform alongside the Barnsley Metropolitan Band, the Kim Frost School of Dance, Thurnscoe Male Voice Choir, local school, and community singers and two storytellers. Rehearsals will take place from September onwards, with final rehearsals at the Playhouse from 2 to 8 December ahead of public performances on the evening of Friday 8 and afternoons of Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 December.

Open auditions will take place on Saturday, 8 July, at the IKIC Youth Centre in Goldthorpe in the morning, and at the Prospect Centre in Thurnscoe in the afternoon. Children attending must be accompanied by a responsible adult. For more information and to book a time in advance please contact writer Martin Riley at with the name and age of the children, the part they wish to audition for, and any relevant experience.

Martin explained the story centres on the relationship between a former miner and his grandchildren. They end up going on a magical journey back in time to the land where the coal their granddad used to mine was formed millions of years ago.

“Megan and Jake were expecting one of Granddad's epic stories of his life underground as a miner,” he said.

“They didn't expect that this time the adventure would be their own, and that their granddad's life would depend on them battling mutant rats, duelling with dinosaurs, fighting the dark spirit of the pit and travelling back to the dawn of time to search for the Heart of the Wood.”

The first phase of improvements to the Dearne Playhouse is now complete, including a new roof. The next phases next year will include works to the main auditorium, the basement, and the outdoor space in Welfare Park.

This is funded through the wider £23.1m Towns Fund investment which involves the council and partners working together to create a thriving community where people can choose to live, invest and excel.

Known as the Community and Cultural Hub project, it’s one of the five main Towns Fund projects and will develop a combined community and cultural hub within the Welfare Park.

It will also include a refreshed outdoor multifunctional performance and community events space alongside the refurbishment of the Playhouse. There will also be improved event-day parking, and business development support for the Playhouse team.

The Towns Fund investment supports our wider investment work in Principal Towns and Local Centres which is helping local high streets thrive across the borough.

For more information about the Towns Fund see

The images have been produced by John Coombes and children of Lacewood Primary School.

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