Young Banbury actor - Simon Castle - has first play 'Butterfly' go into production
Simon Castle, who started at acting at the ago 13, wrote the play - 'Butterfly,' which is now in production with the Hackney Empire.
He started writing during the pandemic due the Covid-19 impact on the cultural industry.
Simon said: "Writing and being a writer, is a title that's still new to me.
"I was set to be performing in productions at The Bush Theatre and at RADA Studios in London which were being directed by the fabulous Rikki Beadle-Blair MBE. However, Covid changed all those plans and I found myself, 19 years old, back in my parents house with no plans and no idea how I was going to work. I knew I had to keep creating, but I'd never written before.
"Rikki Beadle-Blair has been a huge cheerleader for me over the last year in my career and has really pushed me to explore writing as part of my craft. So I gave it a go and realised I had a real knack for it. One of my first monologues, Lynx Africa and Dildos is being published in a book called Fierce, an anthology of Queer audition speeches for queer artists, published by Team Angelica Books.
"I wrote and produced my first short film during lockdown, called BoyToy which is about a tragic love-triangle that forms within a friendship which is about coming out, friendships and being a queer teenager. I then went on to write Butterfly.
"B u t t e r f l y is a coming-of-age drama about a group of unique Queer Children escaping an alienating Conversion Therepy Camp. The play examines self-discovery, The championing of uniqueness, unity found within adversity, and asks the question: Can young people overthrow oppression they’ve been brainwashed to believe?
"It was commissioned by Forest School in partnership with The Hackney Empire, using a full cast of brilliant teenage up-and-coming actors to break into the London scene with a professional credit on their CV; showcasing the talent and power that young people have. It's set to be streamed via The Hackney Empire in September, and is directed by Gemma Van Pragh."
When he's not writing he works with the Creation Theatre Company and for Cherwell Theatre Company. He also works at The Mill Arts Centre in Banbury.
He added: "I started acting properly when I auditioned for the trailblazing and amazing Cherwell Theatre Company in 2014. I auditioned for a production of Aladdin, which was directed by one of my first mentors, Nasser Memarzia and it really paved the start of my acting journey.
"CTC was set up by Nassar, and since 2015 it's been run it's the charismatic and generous Artistic Director Tristan Pate. CTC was an actor's playground for me. I was able to test, challenge and learn acting techniques every week and was mentored by a host of different professional actors that were working on productions with us. It is one of it's kind in Banbury and fosters so many creatives that are succeeding in the industry and continues to do so. I will forever owe my growth and successes to this brilliant company.
"My core practice is really centred around championing the LGBTQIA+ stories I wish I heard as a child, in order to inspire the next generation of queer creatives to tell theirs freely.
"I make work that challenges the notion that our stories are 'underrepresented.' We’re not underrepresented. We’ve always been here, people just haven’t listened. Now's the time to freely tell our stories and inspire others to tell theirs. This is something really important to me."
To read more about Simon Castle and his acting and writing see his website here: https://www.simoncastle.co.uk/