Two women in an acting workshop looking intently at one another

Young Wakefield Actors Bounce Back To Make New Work For 2022 With Empath Theatre Projects!

Imagine you’re a young actor who has worked hard to qualify from a region-leading acting school right here in Wakefield. Now, you’re ready to take your place among the North’s acclaimed acting talent. You’re energised, you’re bursting with ideas, and you want to embrace all the challenges ahead of you.

And then Covid-19 happens.

Everyone felt the sting, and for young actors in our region the hit was particularly hard. All the energy they had gathered was gone, and they were left treading water, waiting.

As the months dragged on, that dream career started to look more distant. Confidence was low. By the Summer many actors hadn’t acted for more than a year. Some were even starting to wonder what their futures could hold and whether they would act again at all.

“They needed better than that,” says Steven who is Company director and writer.

Creating New Work for 2022

Empath Theatre is a branch of Empath Action. It recognises that we create world-class acting talent in Wakefield. It also underscores the need to provide even more opportunities to help young creatives flourish within Wakefield itself so they don’t have to go to other areas of the country to participate in the craft they love so much.

This specific project had a personal element for Steven:

“I had worked with many of the actors on previous projects like ‘The Man in the Moon’ and ‘Difficult Women?’, and knew how hard they all worked and how much they loved acting. At the same time, I could see the toll that not working was having. This was something I was feeling too after a particularly bad period of mental ill health.

“So, in late June into September of 2021, the actors and I had a few different meetings and began chatting about some projects I had in mind and some of the work the actors had devised that they were keen to revist, like the much praised “97%” by Lucy Tranter and Eve Tinsley. Things were still raw, and Covid restrictions still firm in our minds. But, we all agreed that getting back to what we do best–creating–was what we needed.

“I went away and with the support of Empath Action’s amazing other Director, Jo Broadhead,” says Steven, “I started putting the pieces in place.”

Now the Future is Bright

Since then we have been hard at work making new pieces of theatre and revising and rewriting other work we loved and would like to revisit.

A picture of three young women posing for the camera after an acting workshop.
Lizzie, Courtney, and Abi are some of the participants of our Thursday night sessions where we are exploring the myth of the ghostly “Lady Blue.”
Two actors converse, one of them looks like she may be saying something unnerving.
Katie and Alex talking here as Kim and Aaron, their alteregos in our play CBA.
A man stands talking sternly to a young woman who has her feet up on a desk, clearly not bothered. They are part of an acting workshop.
Danny and Sharon are depicted here as Jay and Tez, their characters in CBA. The characters once dated, but now hate each other with a passion.

Here’s what Danny and Sharon have to say about our acting workshops:

"Working with Empath has given me the confidence back to peruse my desired career as an actor. Covid had really pulled me back from progressing and being a part of Empath had really brought me back into my element which has had a major impact on my mental health. I feel much happier within myself and the fire within is alight once more. So greatful for the opportunity to be a part of an amazing team of people and this is only the beginning. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this amazing company."
A Headshot of young actor Danny Barraclough
Danny Barraclough
"Empath has give me an opportunity and a home as an actor to feel comfortable and continue performing in the real world where I felt lost after completing my education in the performance industry."
Headshot of Young Actor M Sharon Kabanda
M. Sharon Kabanda

Empath Action would also like to say how incredibly grateful we are  to the Ridings Shoppping Centre for allowing us to use the Hive Community Space for our rehearsals. This gives us a safe place to meet twice a week to work. It also lets us operate safely within Covid-19 best practices. Thank you to everyone at the Ridings for their incredible support!

We would also like to recognise the AMAZING work done by others for the theatre industry within our city, like the Mechanics’ Institute, the Theatre Royal, CAPA college, Wakefield Council and so many more who have helped to keep the creative fires burning in Wakefield so that projects like ours could develop and thrive.

Now, we better get back to it. We can’t wait for you to see what the Empath family has in store for you in 2022!

BUT, before we go: Make sure to sign up for our mailing list to hear all the latest info about what is going on at Empath including exclusive performances and more:

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