Gatecrashers get in on dramatic action

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Young Doncaster actress Lydia Lakemoore is having a great time going to a party every night as part of a new play.

Gatecrash is what’s called immersive theatre, where the audience take part in what’s going on. Everyone wears headphones and can tune in and out of the conversations going on around them.

Lydia explained: “The audience walk into the downstairs of what looks like a very large house. They are gatecrashers at a party.

“I play a 17-year-old who is a friend of the host, Sam, from school. I start outside with the audience when they arrive and some of them become part of my group of friends.

“I look for the people who look willing and don’t look like they would be absolutely terrified by being approached by someone in the cast.”

The people Lydia teams up with become part of the cast for that show and they’re given a name and a character to play.

Once inside, there are drinks (non-alcoholic, made to look like peach schnapps and cider) and snacks and everyone mingles.

Lydia said: “There are three different things going on at once. There’s even a bathroom and you can take the audience into it.

“It’s a very, very, very fun idea. It doesn’t feel like a play. The audience gets so involved.”

Although there is a script for the actors, Lydia said it is different every time because of the audiences.

“Because the conversations all happen at once in different places, we can’t hear them but some parts have to take place at the same time.

“During our last performance one of the audience members stopped one of the cast and started asking them questions. They were aware that in 20 seconds they had to be at the other end of the house!

“There’s also a hamster in the play, although it’s not a real one, but it looks real. One gentleman couldn’t stop getting it out of its cage and stroking it while he was watching the play.

“It had to be in its cage at a certain point and one of the actors had to ask him to put it back.”

Although the audience are told that the drinks aren’t real, occasionally younger audience members have been known to think they are drunk.

All of this is great training for Lydia, who comes originally from Thorne and only left Arts Educational drama school in London this summer.

Her parents had the Four Seasons restaurant in Doncaster town centre and Lydia appeared at the town’s Civic Theatre with the Riley School of Dance when she was growing up. She was helped to embark on her career by Julie Riley and local drama teacher Mary Barton.

Gatecrash is coming to Cast in Doncaster on tour next Friday (October 17).

Lydia said: “I can’t wait to see the brand new theatre. I haven’t been to town since the new theatre’s been built. The first time I’ll see it is when I perform there.”