Youth theatre scouts for TV talent in Belper

A NEW youth theatre is on the look-out for stage and screen stars of the future in Belper.

Poppies Youth Theatre and Agency wants to show the nation that the town has a wealth of young talented actors that have not been given the recognition they deserve.

Described as a youth theatre with a difference, Poppies not only runs drama workshops to harness and develop local acting talent but also works as a casting agency, as well as producing its own stage shows.

It is already enjoying success as 20 girls who are on the books have been cast to play school children in BBC drama Waterloo Road.

The business is run by Poppy Lloyd and Fliss Goldsmith, who both live in Belper.

Poppy, 30, who is originally from Duffield, has more than ten years experience in the TV industry as a casting director/assistant. She has provided actors of all ages for television programmes, including The Bill and My Parents are Aliens.

Fliss, 27, who trained in acting and musical theatre at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, is running the youth theatre’s workshops.

She said: “The aims of the workshops are to encourage young people to develop communication and interaction with others. It is about social skills as well as their drama skills.

“We want to get Derbyshire on the map in theatre and TV. We want to showcase the wealth of talent.”

Fliss said: “Poppy was living in Surrey and moved back to Derbyshire. She wanted to use her talents up here.

“When she had been casting she noticed a gap in the number of kids from the Midlands.”

The theatre is open to those aged from six to 19. Youngsters can sign up to just attend the workshops, or they can do both.

During the summer, Poppies is running three-day workshops on comedy and film for those aged 11 to 19. Youngsters who take part will get a ‘showreel’ DVD of their performances.

The comedy workshops are July 25 to July 27 at Highfields School, in Matlock, and August 1 to August 3 at the Ecclesbourne School, in Duffield. The film ones are August 8 to August 10 at Ecclesbourne, and August 22 to August 24 at Highfields. All workshops run from 9am to 3pm and no previous experience is needed. Contact Poppies at for prices and more details, or ring 07795 370678.