Fairy discovered in South Leeds


Would you like to be the next Star from South Leeds to see your name in lights? Joy Hudson hopes to follow in the footsteps of Angela Griffin.

Joy Hudson from Middleton
Joy Hudson from Middleton

I recently had the opportunity to visit the cast of Leeds Children’s Theatre as they put on their Pinocchio costumes for the first time. There was much excitement and chatter as they saw each other in costume for the first time. The cast had been called for a photo shoot. This gave me an opportunity to interview Joy Hudson, 11, from New Forrest Village in Middleton, who is playing the Fairy.

Joy has been a member of Leeds Children’s Theatre for 3 years during that   time she has played a Military Bunny in Mega, a Gremlin in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and the young Hattie in Tom’s Midnight Garden.

Now a seasoned actor I asked Joy if she knew her lines? “At home”. “Yes” I said, “we all know our lines at home”.

Having got four plays under her belt I asked about nerves: “On opening  night” she admitted. I wondered how she found out about LCT: “The internet. I put my name down on the waiting list and then forgot about it”. In the meantime Joy carried on with Karate and Irish Dancing. Joy also tried other theatre groups but found that she was only working with her own age group and it was repetitive. The Children’s Theatre has a broad age range of 7 years and up and children work in family groups so they learn from the older ones and teach the younger ones instead of everyone being at the same stage.

I asked Joy what the best thing about the LCT workshop was “Something new and fun every week”.

The Saturday Morning Workshop is where Angela Griffin took her first steps towards a career as an actress, going on to appear in Coronation Street and Waterloo Road amongst other roles. It was started by the late Edna Barwell who started the workshop so that LCT could put on this version of Pinocchio which requires some improvisation. Edna was well known in South Leeds as her teaching career was spent at Ingram Road and Bells Isle Middle School.

Bernard Wilson plays Gepetto
Bernard Wilson plays Gepetto

Another seasoned thespian is Bernard Wilson who grew up in Beeston and is playing Gepetto. Bernard was a member of St. Anthony’s Amateur Dramatics Association and still has family in Beeston.

Leeds Children’s Theatre’s production of Pinocchio is on at The Carriageworks in Millennium Square, Leeds from 12 to 16 November 2013.

Hot off the press – the Saturday morning Workshop waiting list is closed, but there may be places for a few teenage boys. Anyone interested should visit Leeds Children’s Theatre’s website.


This article was written by Diane McHale-Fannon using our Community Reporters website