Young Belper actor joins Brassed Off cast

joe mothershaw2Joe Mothershaw is a tenacious young man – and that quality has won him a coveted role in one of Derby Theatre’s most prestigious productions.

The Belper schoolboy is in the cast of the production of Brassed Off which is being staged to celebrate the theatre’s 40th anniversary in September.

Fourteen-year-old Joe can hardly contain his excitement at the prospect and says that working alongside the other actors and with the theatre’s artistic director Sarah Brigham will be an immense privilege.

“Not only that, it will be a great thing to have on my CV and a really good reference point for me going forward.”

Joe is no stranger to the stage and it could be said it is in his blood as his mother Sara and father Nick met as members of Belper Players and regularly appear in their productions.

He can remember watching them in action but it wasn’t long before he was joining them and performing in Nicholas Nickleby, A Play in a Day and a Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“My dad was Bottom in that play and I have also played Bottom in a school production. My mum also played the part when she was young… so what do you think that makes us a family of…” he says with a laugh.

When Joe’s interest in the stage became apparent he joined Poppies Youth Theatre Agency which stages classes in various locations in the area and he was one of the young people from the group who appeared in the TV series Utopia a couple of years ago.

Since then he has attended a number of auditions for roles in productions, but until now he hasn’t been successful.

“It can be disappointing but you have to keep trying and not give up. When I heard about the role in Brassed Off I really wanted to be a part of the production. I couldn’t believe it when I actually heard I had got the part,” he said.

He will be sharing the role of young narrator Shane with two other actors during the play’s three-week run at the theatre.

Brassed Off is set in 1992. The miners are striking as the local colliery faces closure. Shane’s grandfather Danny’s dreams of leading the pit’s brass band to victory at a national competition at the Albert Hall seem remote, as the men choose between the picket lines and redundancy packages.

His son Phil is badly in debt and becomes a clown for children’s parties, but fails to prevent his wife and children (including Shane) walking out on him.

The narrating role is a tough one for a young actor with a lot of lines to learn but Joe is up for the challenge and says he is looking forward to tackling a more serious role.

He will be studying drama among his GCSEs at Belper School but has not yet decided what path he wants to take in the future.

He says that as well as acting he is also interested in writing, directing and production and at the moment is keen on film.

“I have always made up stories and enjoyed writing. I think I have quite a big imagination, but at the moment I am enjoying learning as much as I can and making the most of the opportunities I have,” he said.

Brassed Off can be seen from September 18-October 10. There is a gala performance to celebrate the Theatre’s 40th  anniversary on September 22 and the shows will feature live music from Derwent Brass.

For ticket details go to