Drama students lead the way

TWO Drama students who honed their craft at Priestley College have gone on to perform an impressive double act on a professional stage.

Jess Meade directed actress Emily Meechan in a production of ‘Build A Rocket’ at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool five years after they finished their A-Levels.

The duo had only ever performed together at Birchwood High School, but knew of each other throughout their time at Priestley. So when Jess had the chance to direct the play she knew who she wanted for the part.

“As soon as I had the green light that I was directing I knew I’d cast Emily to play Yasmin,” said Jess, who studied Drama, History and English Literature at Priestley.

“Yasmin is a role made for Emily. She’s really good at handling plays of this much grit and pace. After we read a few scenes together I knew I didn’t need to look any further, she was Yasmin.”

Jess contacted Emily at the start of the pandemic and proposed some rehearse-and-direct sessions over zoom, where they began to read the play.

As a result Emily was chosen for the lead in the play, which ran for three performances over two days during the theatre’s Directors’ Festival.

“Throughout the process we have developed a really strong friendship and Jess is now one of my best friends,” said Emily, who studied Drama and Performing Arts at Priestley.

‘Build A Rocket’ tells the story of Yasmin who is a young woman from Liverpool who loves to tell stories, particularly her own. It is about triumph over adversity, female endurance and believing in yourself. 

In a show of support for the Priestley alumni their former tutors Helen Lowe and Abbie Rippon attended one of the performances.

“It is one of the greatest moments for us as teachers to see former students take to the stage in a professional theatre,” said Helen.

“To see Jess direct and Emily take the lead was an amazing moment not just for them, but for us as well.”

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