Two budding young Sheffield actresses are excited about being on a proper stage for the first time
Cody Johnson and Esther Dina, both aged 16, are joining the 94-strong cast of amateur actors, ranging in age from 12 to 86, in The Sheffield Mysteries at the Crucible, a modern adaptation of the medieval mystery cycles based on Bible stories.
Set in the city, this new play, written by Sheffielder Chris Bush, takes audiences on a journey from construction to regeneration, through the seven hills, the Moor Market, building sites and football clubs, exploring famous stories with a modern Sheffield twist. The show takes a frank and funny look at the human spirit through stories and songs.
Sheffield Theatres artistic director Daniel Evans is directing the play, performed by Sheffield People’s Theatre, made up of performers of all ages and walks of life.
Cody lives in Shirecliffe and is studying at Longley Park Sixth Form College.
She said: “I’m playing a schoolgirl. My scene is we go home and meet this famous person, the prime minister. We introduce ourselves to him and take a picture with him.”
Although Cody is studying A-level drama, this will be her stage debut. She said: “I heard about it from my teacher at college. He said that it was a good experience to be in this sort of thing if you’re going to drama school. Me and a bunch of my friends came up and we got in.
“It’s completely different from what I expected. I didn’t expect this much rehearsal time as I’m only in one of the scenes.
“Other people are in 10 scenes and doing a lot of rehearsal time. I do one night a week and then all day Saturday.
“I think I’ll be nervous. It will be my first time performing on stage in front of an audience. I know I’ll enjoy it, with my family and friends coming along to watch it. I think I’ll do well.”
Cody is now ambitious to be an actress: “I always thought to myself I want to be in movies or performing on stage.
“I just want to be in that industry. I think it would be good for me. I’m not one of those people to sit behind a desk and tap on a computer.”
She added: “I like doing more serious drama. In films and stuff when you watch I just think to myself that’s what I want to do. If it isn’t an action film, I wouldn’t want to be in it.”
Cody’s favourite actress is Marilyn Monroe and thinks her best film is Some Like It Hot.
Her choice of career has surprised those around her: “None of my family is involved in drama. They’re just really proud of me. They knew I’d do something with my life.
“They sometimes have doubts that I’ll get into films. This has proved them wrong. They know I’ll set things out to achieve what I want to achieve.”
Esther goes to All Saints Catholic High School and lives on the Manor.
She plays a girl called Tia. one of a group of storytellers in the story of Adam and Evie, a young couple who meet on a night out and go off to a club called Eden, then get thrown out.
Esther said that she spotted the invitation to audition on the theatres website. She said: “I put a reminder on my phone and the day the applications opened I went on my computer and signed up.
“This is my first proper theatre production. It’s really exciting. I’m really, really, really enjoying it.
“It’s just things like the rehearsal process, I didn’t expect them to be what they’re like. How the rehearsals are structured and activities we had to do during them. I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Esther is a member of the National Youth Theatre but hasn’t done any shows yet. She has been on an introductory course at the National Theatre in London.
She said: “I’ve done musicals in school. I did GCSE drama, and I’m going on to A-level drama and dance and continuing to look for things to audition for.
“I’ve auditioned for a show for the National Youth Theatre next year and doing as much acting as possible. My goal is to go to drama school.”
Like Cody, being in the show has confirmed Esther’s ambitions: “This is my first proper theatre. I’m loving it, I really am. It reinforces how much I like theatre and acting.”
Her favourite actress is Sandra Bullock. “I think she is hilarious and a really, really, really good actor. As a person I love her humble attitude, she’s very down to earth.”
This is the first time we’ve shown the scene in front of everyone. I was a little bit nervous. I don’t know how I’m going to cope when I’m in front of loads of people.
She says she can’t wait to go on stage. “I think it will be a most amazing thing. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. It’s my first time on a proper stage.
“It’s coming really, really fast. I didn’t realise we had only two weeks left. I don’t understand where the time’s gone!”
The Sheffield Mysteries runs from Tuesday, July 15 to Saturday 19. Tickets from the Crucible box office, online at www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call 0114 2496000.