Actor to go from page to the stage

Oxford Mail: Callum Hughes Callum Hughes

A FORMER Henry Box School pupil has created his own theatre company and is set to perform in its first play.

Callum Hughes, 21, set up Blind Tiger Theatre with three friends after graduating from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performances, in Sidcup.

Mr Hughes whose family home is in Ducklington, wrote A Life in Monochrome with his fellow theatre company founder David Shopland.

Now he’s preparing for the play’s big opening in July at the same time as rehearsing for three roles in Peter Pan at the Queens Theatre, Horn- church, Essex.

Mr Hughes said: “We were frustrated by the growing pressure on the arts industry.

“The cuts mean no brave new work is really being made.

“In an age of austerity, it takes a while for brave theatre to happen again, so we thought we would make our own company as a limited, non-profit company that we actually believe in.”

While most theatre spaces are hired at expensive rates, the fledgling company has managed to agree a 50:50 split in takings with the Space Arts Centre in East London, making it viable for the production to go ahead.

They plan to hire three actors to join them in the 1930s film noir-style show, but will not be taking a wage themselves, ploughing any profits back into the next production – likely to be a version of Cinderella which Mr Hughes described as an “anti-panto”.

He said: “We are going to write a report on it afterwards to show other small companies what it takes to go from page to stage. It’s been a huge amount of work but it has been amazing so far.”

Mr Hughes, who performed with fellow Blind Tiger founder Claire Sharpe at the Witney Music Festival, caught the acting bug while at school in Witney.

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He took roles in the Henry Box productions of the Sound of Music, Carousel, Fiddler on the Roof and the Wizard of Oz.

He is keen to promote Witney’s talent, and has already approached two musicians from the town, Josh Benfield and Matt Midgley, about potential future involvement.

He said: “It’s about bringing the talent of Witney to London and vice versa, that’s something we’re passionate about.”

A Life in Monochrome runs from July 17-28 and tickets, £12, are available through blindtigertheatre.co.uk

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