Market town of Chorley inspires debut play

Brother sister duo Nick and Liz Stevenson, who started Junction 8 Theatre company
Brother sister duo Nick and Liz Stevenson, who started Junction 8 Theatre company

A theatre company is to stage a new play in the heart of Chorley - in the market.

Inspired by the market space the show, Under the Market Roof, is all about old Len who turned up on Chorley Market as a lad with nothing but a couple of suitcases of stock.

He’s been here ever since and the play follows the tale of his granddaughter who questions whether there is a future in the marketplace for her.

“We really wanted to make bespoke pieces in town,” said executive producer Nick Stevenson who started Junction 8 Theatre company with his sister Liz, as artistic director.

“We were successful in securing funding from Arts Council England. It’s our first production and we wanted our debut show to make a big impact on the town. It’s (the market) a place that everyone knows.”

The brother sister duo were brought up in Whittle-le-Woods and as teenagers they were both heavily involved in Chorley Little Theatre.

“We’ve been talking about doing something in Chorley for about five or six years,” said Nick, who also works full time as assistant producer at Theatr Clwyd in north Wales.

The play’s run of shows will be performed between Tuesday, October 11 – Saturday, October 21 each evening at 8pm at the Market Place off Cleveland Street.

Although the main market will be closed a number of shops are opening up just for the occasion to allow visitors to grab a barm, a pint or a brew. The Bob Inn will be open as well as The Bees Country Kitchen and Classy Sandwich.

The script for Under the Market Roof is on its third draft and is being written by Becky Prestwich who has also written for Doctors and Holby City.

Along with Nick and Liz, Becky undertook a period of research and development for Under the Market Roof in 2016, when they spoke to traders and shoppers at the market to ask them about their experiences and memories of the place.

Now that funding has been secured the theatre company is taking on professional performers. It is also on the look out for a team of volunteer performers to join a community ensemble.

The ensemble will work with Liz and the cast of professional actors for a series of weekly workshops.

“Together we’ll explore, create and rehearse moments that will be part of the final production in October,” said Liz.

“If you’ve never performed before but you want to try something new, or you’ve tread the boards many a time but fancy a different experience – we want to hear from you!

“We’re looking for people with enthusiasm, energy, dedication, an open mind, a willingness to put yourself out there and make something special with a bunch of new people. You also need to be over 18 and living in the Chorley area.”

​​Community ensemble workshop auditions will be held at Chorley Town Hall on Thursday, August 17 between 7pm and 9pm. Email info@junction8theatre.co.uk to register an interest.

Tickets for the play cost £10 and are available online at www.junction8theatre.co.uk or at Malcolm’s Musicland in Chapel Street.​