Sheffield actress Laura Lindsay says that the frustrations of trying to find work led to her co-writing a play which she is taking to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next month.
Laura only took the plunge to become an actress after becoming hooked when she joined The Company, an amateur theatre company who perform three times a year at the University Drama Studio, in 2005.
She is originally from Northamptonshire but came to the University of Sheffield to study biology in 1998. She met her husband, who was studying law, when they both lived in Ranmoor Halls of Residence. They settled here after university and now in Handsworth.
She said: “The more I did with The Company, the more I realised how much I loved acting. As with most theatre groups, my roles grew in size until I was given the privilege of playing Rita in Educating Rita in 2006. It was then I realised that I’d quite like to do this acting malarkey professionally.”
However, as for most actors, paid work is thin on the ground, so she and fellow actor Peter Carruthers co-wrote a piece called Hidden.
The show is a darkly comic story of six characters and the intriguing puzzle of how their lives interweave and unravel in a modern urban world. They play three characters each.
Although Hidden is a comedy, Laura says that it is full of “accidental poignancy”, adding: “It’s a blend of intimate storytelling with heightened naturalism. They are all very recognisable characters, just a slightly heightened version of them so that we’ere able to laugh at them or laugh with them.”
She added: “There’s no villains – they’re human with flaws and they’re all likeable in some way.
“A lot of people go to Edinburgh wanting to see comedy and they’re a bit more tentative about seeing theatre, especially if it’s a bit ‘slit your wrists’. We sneak the drama in under the radar.”
The show had a good reception when it went to the Lowry Theatre in Salford last year and was selected from Manchester’s thriving fringe scene for the prestigious Re:Play Festival earlier this year. That has led to backing from Harrogate Theatre, which Laura says is a big help in opening doors with other producers.
Laura and Peter have now set up their own production company, Black Toffee. Laura says the name refers to their work as being “dark and chewy”.
They are touring the show next year and really want to perform Hidden in Sheffield. Laura is busy approaching venues in the city.
Meanwhile, Hidden will be playing at the Underbelly venue’s Iron Belly space throughout August.
Other Sheffield groups at Edinburgh include comedy troupe The Antics, who are performing comedy improv show A Pile of Wit.
They are at Caquila in Edinburgh from August 1 to 10.
And Funny You Should Ask and The Tale Smugglers are in Edinburgh with their shows, Laughing Wild and Red Riding Hood.
They have a one-night preview at The Lantern Theatre in Sheffield tonight before Funny You Should Ask head to The Space on August 19 to 24 and Tale Smugglers appear at Greenside on August 5 to 24.
n Go to www.thestar.co.uk to see a trailer for Hidden.