St Austell community cast ready to share the stage with world renowned Cornish theatre company

  • Charlotte Gay met the extended cast during final rehearsals.

Families from St Austell are preparing to perform in front a crowd for the first time after being recruited by an internationally renowned Cornish theatre company.

Wildworks have spent eight months hosting community workshops to gather cast members, develop the script, build sets and devise costumes with people from the wider St Austell Bay area.

Some local members are in their eighties while others are still in primary school, and most have never performed professionally but face their first audiences for I AM KEVIN on Saturday (6th August).

By day Sid Sidebottom is a structural engineer, but after work he is one of the community cast members. After being asked to play an angry leader of a mob he joked "I lost my voice" after being told to "go big" earlier in rehearsals".

"There's obviously a script and they [Wildworks] know what the whole show should be like from beginning to end. But I think the community performance side adds adds colour that they don't know how to form until it starts to form. The whole performance can can be transformed."

At 11 years old Sami Bassi from Charlestown is the youngest performer in the community cast. Credit: ITV News

Sami Bassi from Charlestown is one of the youngest members at 11 years old. He and his mum Kim stumbled upon rehearsals at Carlyon Bay and have been involved ever since.

Not knowing anyone at first Sami says he tried to "stay as close to my mum as possible". But now feeling more "confident" he says his favourite part of the show is a scene at the end.

"The favourite part is probably when we get to hold fire torches around the tree. But I don't want to give it away."

Jasper Knight had a similar experience nearly a decade ago when he first performed in the community cast for Wildworks.

21-year-old is now a production intern with the company, and says performing with the community in Mevagissey turned him onto a career in the arts he never expected.

"It was kind of life changing and that's easily been the thing thats made me want to do more theatre and lives events."

I AM KEVIN has been described as a 'bedtime story to set the world on fire' Credit: Wildworks

Mydd Pharo is the artistic director for Wildworks and the director for I AM KEVIN.

He says working with the community has always been a big part of the Wildworks process because in every place they perform it "gives a greater depth to the work".

"You meet the people who have spent their whole lives here, their children have played here and they've come here when people have died and so there's already narratives attached to this place long before we get here."

Mydd admits it is quite a 'weird process" to go through to build their story and "quite often it's not until quite late on in the process actually that we know exactly what the story is."

People in local workshops made these 'patches for empowerment' which make part of the costumes for the show. Credit: ITV News

Even the costumes have been influenced by people living in the mid Cornwall town as workshops were held to sew a small patchwork for moments in people's lives where they have overcome something difficult.

Mydd says these bits of fabric became "testaments of power and strength" of the local community.