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Reece Ritchie returns to Lowestoft to star in hard hitting play

PUBLISHED: 09:42 01 February 2018

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

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A "stunning cast," including Lowestoft-born actor Reece Ritchie, will take to the stage at the Seagull Theatre as a special event is showcased.

A new play by local writer John Hales, ‘The Response’ will be performed at the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield on Thursday 1 February and Friday 2 February at 7.30pm. Picture: Courtesy of the Seagull TheatreA new play by local writer John Hales, ‘The Response’ will be performed at the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield on Thursday 1 February and Friday 2 February at 7.30pm. Picture: Courtesy of the Seagull Theatre

The Response – a hard hitting new play written by former Seagull manager and BAFTA nominee, John Hales – will have it’s first showing at the theatre in Pakefield.

Based in the wake of the London bombings of 7/7, the play focuses on another extremist group, taking British hostages, as it explores cultural and societal impacts of extremism following the attacks.

It is being performed at the Seagull on Thursday, February 1 and Friday, February 2 and is free to attend – thanks to a grant from Arts Council England – but booking is highly advised so you don’t miss out on this special event.

Ahead of the performance, Mr Hales said: “The cast is just stunning and what a treat it is to have them come to Lowestoft and work with the talent we have here, at the Seagull, thanks to the Arts Council support.”

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

Mr Ritchie – who is returning to his hometown, having attended the Benjamin Britten High School in Lowestoft before going on to star in numerous blockbuster films and on stage – will play the character Edge. He said: “The play is on the surface a thriller but digs a lot deeper, looking at issues in a way that will reach everyone and certainly get people thinking and discussing it as well as being very entertaining.”

The cast also includes Mark Wingett, Jennifer Matter and local actors Charlotte McGuiness and Mark Finbow.

Karen Read, manager of the Seagull, said: “It’s also a real chance for people to be involved in how the play develops, as the audience will be able to video their responses to the show. We are also having a Q and A each night with the cast, the writer and a special guest on the Friday, Dan Biddle.”

Mr Biddle – the worst injured survivor of the London bombings – will be in Lowestoft as he is one of the keynote speakers at the town’s first ever mental health conference, as well as being the theatre’s special guest for Friday’s performance.

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

tickets are available from the Seagull on 01502 589726 or www.theseagull.co.uk and people are advised to get there from 7pm if they’d like to have fun and be part of the research with the show starting at 7.30pm.

Background

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

With the play being about such a delicate subject, there has been a lot or research, and one of the first people to get involved in the project was 7/7 survivor Dan Biddle.

John Hales said: “Dan’s one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. What he went through, what so many went through hasn’t really been looked at before. It was so important to me to handle it sensitively but honestly and Dan has been a real champion of the project.

“The things I’ve learned in the research have been horrifying and also uplifting. Dan said to me that day he met the worst and the best of humanity and this is a play about an extreme reaction to that.”

He added: “The research has also led him to peace campaigners like Ivan Humble and Manwar Ali, Police officers, members of the anti-terrorist squad, former members of right wing groups, Christians, Muslims, Agnostics and Atheists and Dan being the first person to assist opened a lot of doors”.

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

The Response play will be performed at the Seagull Theatre, Pakefield. Pictures: Charlie Ketchen Photography

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