AN INTERNATIONALLY-RENOWNED actor and director is helping a group of budding young Wearside actors star in their own ghostly drama.

Mark McGann, one of the famous McGann acting family, is coming to Sunderland this month to work with pupils from seven of the city’s schools.

More than 30 youngsters aged 10 to 15 will be starring in The Cauld Lad of Hylton, a play about the famous ghost of Hylton Castle.

The production will be directed by Mark, whose television credits include Shackleton, The Manageress, The Grand, The Hanging Gale (with brothers Paul, Joe and Stephen), John and Yoko: A Love Story and The Bill.

And the Liverpudlian actor has also enlisted the help of top TV writer Colin Swash, whose credits include Doctor Who and Have I Got News for You, to write the drama.

Pupils from Monkwearmouth School, Fulwell Juniors, and Seaburn Dene, Redby, St Benet’s RC, Dame Dorothy and Hylton Castle Primaries will all be taking part.

Sue Charnley, arts development manager at Monkwearmouth, has overseen the project, which will see the play, featuring both live and filmed action, premiere at the school on Friday, July 31.

She said: “For the students to able to work with an actor as prestigious as Mark McGann and his colleagues really is the chance of a lifetime.

“I contacted him last year to invite him to work with the students and was thrilled when he said yes.”

She added: “I suggested a ghost story because it’s a subject that’s always fascinated me, and I wanted to use a local legend.

“I then came across a book called Haunted Sunderland, which told the story of the Cauld Lad of Hylton, which really excited me.

“I sent the book off to Mark and he really shared my enthusiasm. He then suggested Colin Swash as the ideal writer.

“He’s come up with a fantastic script full of local references, and even the odd joke at the expense of Newcastle United!

“It’s going to be a fabulous production and one I know the students will really enjoy.”

The project will be run by McGann’s production company Drama Direct Ltd, which he formed to specifically use his extensive entertainment industry experience to educate and develop children in the performing arts. Also working with Mark on the project for Drama Direct will be acclaimed young cinematographer Ed Thomas and innovative advanced skills teacher John Baxter, both of whom have previously helped design and deliver successful projects for Drama Direct and its sister company Screen Direct.

To learn more about Drama Direct & Screen Direct visit:


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