Young actors who are putting on a production of the musical Cats in Sheffield have raised the money themselves to provide the crowning glory to their costumes.
Easy Street Youth Theatre wanted to hire wigs from a professional supplier in Manchester but they cost £35 each. All the cast members were given £5 and told to come up with ideas to turn their fiver into £35.
Rhys Quinn, aged 12, who plays George, washed cars and did jobs for his grandparents and Joe Bacon, aged 13, went only for posh cars. He managed to wash a Bentley.
Jessica Child-Cavill, aged 12, who plays Etcetera, and Harry Foster-Major (11), who is Skimbleshanks, raised £78 running a bookstall outside Nether Edge News in the rain.
Helena Anderson, aged 13, who plays Jemima, and her friend India made cupcakes and other goodies and raised £200.
Emily Baycroft, aged 17, who appears as Cassandra, donated her £35 from £300 she won in a writing competition run by Newman College, Cambridge. She is hoping to go to the university.
April Parker, who is 16 and is playing Grizabella, is working on a job scheme at a games company in Renishaw and ran a bonus ball competition among her colleagues. None of them picked the right number!
James Godfrey, aged 19, who takes the roles of Old Deuteronomy and Bustopher Jones, had one of the most unusual ideas. He is an apprentice at Whirlow Hall Farm, so he bought 10 chickens and built a shed in his parents’ back garden and sold the eggs. He even had four chicks hatch.
A team of volunteer face painters will take several hours to make up the cast and lots of supporters have been busily knitting tails and legwarmers for the costumes, which include hand-painted unitards. Joanne Chadwick, who has two children in the cast, was watching the rehearsals while knitting her eighth set of legwarmers.
Company director Sallianne Foster-Major said that it costs an average of £250 to put each child on the stage for a production. “If we don’t sell 50 per cent of the tickets, we make a loss. That’s depressing when we have worked so hard to do it.
“Our version of Barnum was a creative masterpiece but we lost £2,000.”
That prompted the group to move to the Montgomery Theatre in the city centre for Cats. They are hoping that the show’s massive following will help to attract a big audience.
Cats is at the Montgomery Theatre from July 10 to 13. Tickets: 07542 131449.