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Great Expectations of Honley Players latest theatrical venture

Southgate Theatre actors tackle a new adaptations of Dickens' great work.

Nigel Town as Magwitch in Honley Players' Great Expectations, with young pip played by Adam Rowell

Audiences at Honley’s Southgate Theatre will have Great Expectations when the Dickens classic comes to the stage next month.

An ambitious production by Honley Players promises a new adaptation of the classic story of lost hopes and poisoned dreams.

It’s being directed by Linda Williams, who is new to the society but has two decades of stage experience.

Unusually, the stage itself is being adapted and audiences will be drawn into part of the action. As Linda explains: “We’ve altered the stage and built it out into the audience. We’ve also got live music and we’ll be using film projections as well. It’s a very complicated production but we’ve all enjoyed it immensely.”

The show features two young actors, both just nine-years-old – Adam Rowell and Amelia Green – taking the roles of the young Pip and Estella. Adam has never appeared on stage before but, says Linda, “he’s really, really good”. She added: “He came for audition and had only spoken two words when I knew he was right for the part.”

Also taking leading roles are Helen Martland (Miss Haversham); Sophie Lawrence (adult Estella); Nigel Town (Magwitch) and Louis Taithe (adult Pip).

The production runs from Wednesday to Saturday, May 10 to 13. Tickets are £5 to £8 from Jacobs Well and the Gallery Cafe, Honley, or southgatetheatre.org

Great Expectations, published in 1861, was Dickens’ 13th novel and follows the fortunes of a young boy, Pip, who unexpectedly comes into a fortune but finds that his plans to marry the cold-hearted Estella, ward of the crazy Miss Haversham, are thwarted. It is a tale of youthful expectations and adult regrets. It has been made into countless television series, films and stage productions - the most recent a West Yorkshire Playhouse adaptation in 2016 starring Jane Asher and Miss Havisham. The Players’ version is the work of Neil Bartlett, who adapted it for the Bristol Old Vic in 2013.

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