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Stage Is Set For School Chums’ Spooky Theatre Experience

Four young actors are about to embark on a spooky theatre adventure.

Gracie Ashpole (aged 12), Eloise Hall (11), Tom Hardern (11) and Joel Danziger (12) have been chosen to perform the key roles of Miles and Flora in The Turn of the Screw, which is being staged at the mysterious Old Parsonage as part of Didsbury Arts Festival (June 22 – 30).

Didsbury production The Turn of the Screw Tom Hardern, Gracie Ashpole, Eloise Hall and Joel Danziger

The youngsters, all year seven students at Parrs Wood High School, East Didsbury, will take it in turns, pairing up on alternate nights, to play the roles of the creepy brother and sister in Henry James’s sinister tale.

In the story, the children’s governess is horrified when she realises that the man and woman she alone sees around the grounds of her employer’s isolated country estate are the ghosts of her dead predecessor and the valet with whom she was said to be having an affair. The young governess becomes convinced that her innocent charges are being corrupted by the ghoulish pair and that the children’s very souls are in terrible danger …

Said Gracie: ‘It’s quite a scary story. I made sure I didn’t read it before bedtime! I’ve been to the Parsonage and it’s very creepy. People say it’s haunted!’

The young actors, all good friends, went along to auditions after hearing about the production at their school drama club, of which they are all members.

Said Tom: ‘We all enjoy acting. It’s quite cool because you get to be other people!’

Only one of the group, Joel, has previous professional acting experience, having performed in the Royal Exchange Christmas production of Rats’ Tales. He is currently appearing in the Royal Exchange production of A Dolls’ House and attends the David Johnson Drama School in Manchester.