Four young Leeds actors have been given the exciting opportunity to perform on Leeds Playhouseâ€™s Quarry stage after being cast in its compelling new production of Macbeth.
Kenya BowryÂ andÂ Angel LekaneÂ have been cast as Fleance, childÂ of the doomed Banquo, andÂ Scarlett CohenÂ andÂ Mae BrownÂ have been cast as the child of Lord and Lady Macduff. Â
Director Amy Leach and Designer Hayley Grindle have created a vibrant, raw and visceral vision of Shakespeareâ€™s thrilling tragedy, with Tachia Newall as the fatally ambitious northern warrior and Jessica Baglow as Lady Macbeth, who propels him towards his ultimate dark transformation.
The quartet of young performers will split their roles across the three-week run from 26 February to 19 March.
Scarlett Cohen, 13, has enjoyed performing in school and community shows since being a young child. She regularly attends Leeds Playhouse Youth Theatre and Macbeth is her debut in a professional production.
She said: â€œI was thrilled to be cast in Macbeth alongside some of my friends from Playhouse Youth Theatre and Iâ€™m really excited to experience performing on the big stage at Leeds Playhouse.â€
Angel Lekane, 13, has trained and performed with Leeds Playhouse Youth Theatre, PQA (Pauline Quirke Academy) and Stagecoach Performing Arts in Garforth, East Leeds. She has played Rizzo in Grease, the Dormouse in Alice in Wonderland, and Snow White in a show depicting a series of fairy tales.
â€œI am very excited for this opportunity,â€ she said. â€œIâ€™m looking forward to meeting new people and working together as a group to create something special â€” and to finally work in a professional production with props and an actual set!â€
Mae Brown, 12, has been a member of Leeds Playhouse Youth Theatre for six years. They are taught by voice coach Lily Rose Moharrer and are a member of Leeds Junior Conservatoireâ€™s Stage Programme. In 2019, they appeared in Opera North and Leeds Playhouseâ€™s The Magic Flute and, this year, have participated in the Coram Shakespeare Schools festival performing in A Midsummer Nightâ€™s Dream at the Playhouse.
They said: â€œIâ€™m incredibly excited to be offered the part and canâ€™t wait to work with the rest of the cast and crew.â€
Kenya Bowry, 13, has been involved in performing arts from a young age. She began with Baby Ballet aged four and, three years later, joined RJC Dance in Chapeltown, where she continues to study a fusion of Reggae, Jazz and Contemporary. In 2019, Kenya successfully secured a place in the youth ensemble for Leeds Playhouseâ€™s production of The Wizard of Oz and is now a member of the RJC and Leeds Playhouse partnership weekly youth theatre sessions.
â€œIâ€™m most looking forward to working with another professional cast and performing on the big stage,â€ she said.
They wonâ€™t be the only young people in the Quarry theatre â€” schools from across the city have booked to see Macbeth, giving scores of young people the chance to enjoy Shakespeareâ€™s iconic tragedy and to learn more about its characters and key themes.
Director Amy Leach, Associate Director at Leeds Playhouse, said: â€œItâ€™s a thrilling play to study as a young person â€” the exploration of good and bad, of ambition and revenge, of whatâ€™s real and unreal.
â€œThe pandemic has been so tough on young people and their teachers, having to study Shakespeareâ€™s plays via zoom lessons or from behind masks. We hope this production will be an exciting rollercoaster that brings the play clearly to life so that young people get the chance to experience it as it should be â€” as a living, breathing, electrifying experience.â€
Leeds Playhouseâ€™s award-winning Creative Engagement team have created a range of free educational resources available to school bookers.
by William Shakespeare
A Leeds Playhouse production
26 February â€“ 19 March
Press night: Thursday 3 March
Box office: 0113 213 7700