Guys and Dolls actors will be rocking the boat next week

Thursday, 13 February 2020

– Entertainment

by Philip IrwinReporter

The talented young actors who make up the Bridgend Youth Theatre (BYT) are putting on the classic Broadway show Guys and Dolls next week in The Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl.

The audience can expect the usual high standard from the young cast, but this year there is a football connection, which can be traced back to artistic director Roger Burnell’s years of devotion to Cardiff City.

Jude Blake, the son of the Bluebirds’ former player, Nathan Blake, will be taking on the role of Nathan Detroit, while Porthcawl Comprehensive’s Jack Williams, a useful football player himself, will be Sky Masterton.

Eddy Osborne, also from Porthcawl, will take the role of Sarah Brown.

Nathan Blake became involved with the theatre in 2013 after being asked to audition for a short film produced by It’s My Shout for BBC called ‘Say It’. Nathan’s cameo role in the film sparked a similar interest from his son Jude, who has been an ever-present BYT member.

Jude has starred in musicals including South Pacific alongside Eastenders actress Samantha Womack and is set to embark upon another tour this time with the hit stage musical the Lion King taking on the role of Young Simba.

Nathan recalls “I was never nervous when I was playing football for Wales but the first time I saw Jude on stage I was a wreck”.

These days Blake feels much more at ease when watching his son perform as a member of BYT, where he has taken on meaty roles such as the young Paul Robeson in the touring production ‘Robeson Remembered’ as well as film roles such as Jamie in the Fearless series and one of three lead roles in an It’s My Shout /BBC Wales short drama ‘Tabard’.

Over the years BYT has developed and nurtured countless young talents with alumni subsequently undertaking roles on stage,TV and the silver screen, including ‘Dunkirk’ star Aneurin Barnard, National Theatre actress Amy Morgan and West End musical theatre star Josh Lovell.

Bridgend Youth Theatre also provides young actors the chance to learn performance skills its sister company It’s My Shout CIC (film training scheme) which provides hands on training for individuals from all walks of life some looking for a change of career and others looking to simply build confidence. This scheme is run across Wales alongside partners such as BBC Wales, S4C, A.C.W., Sony, Badwolf Studios, and Awen Trust, who also run Bridgend Youth Theatre alongside It’s My Shout.

Guys and Dolls which will be at the Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl, on February 20 and 21, two shows a day, at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.  

Artistic Director Roger Burnell said: “I believe it’s important to nurture talent in its many forms and the sooner you enable young people to realise that they can enjoy more than one sport or art form and that they can be successful in more than one area; that’s when they begin to thrive and their confidence begins to build”.

The former schoolteacher, who taught Gavin Stacey stars Rob Brydon and Ruth Jones went on to say how “it only seems like yesterday Rob and Ruth were on that very stage performing in Guys and Dolls when we did the show at Porthcawl Comprehensive.”

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