With an air of uncertainly as to when theatres can, and will open its doors, Bradford Playhouse staff and actors are keeping positive and active concerning future projects. During lockdown, Bradford Playhouse have continued to keep theatre fans updated and entertained via various social media platforms, whilst carrying out vital maintenance preparing the theatre ready for its re-opening.

Not only has the theatre run colouring competitions to win tickets for future pantomimes, every Friday via Facebook, is Theatre night, showcasing a series of monologues from local actors.

With all this considered, the show must go, and that is just what the director and cast have done for the forthcoming production of The Mighty Atoms.

With an unusual start, auditions for the highly successful play were held via video. “Thankfully, everyone was fully up for the challenge and exceeded our expectations, we came away with an amazing cast”, said director David Ayres.

Written by Amanda Whittingham and inspired by real life hero Barbara Buttrick, played by Emma Hunter, the 2017 play is an uplifting and empowering story of five women who partake in an unlicensed boxing event to raise money for “The Six Bells” a struggling Hull pub managed by Landlady Nora Cooke, played by Alyson Boote.

Ex-boxer Taylor Flint, played by Sophia Leanne Kelly, wants to put the past behind her. Yet back on the Hull estate where she grew up, she is drawn into running a boxercise class. For Lauren, played by Lanna Howard, Jazz, (Mabz Beet) Aneta (Claire Gadsby) and Grace (Danni Shepherd), boxercise soon becomes more than a way to lose weight and have a laugh.

When the pub is threatened with closure, the class refuse to throw in the towel.

Inspired by the true Hull legend, they commit to an unlicensed Fight Night to raise cash. Yet as the countdown begins, it is Taylor who finds herself on the ropes.

“This has certainly got to be one of the strangest shows I have ever directed,” said David. “Not only are rehearsals taking place over Zoom, but also because the cast involved have had to learn how to box and skip as well. Teaching this remotely has been quite the challenge, but the cast have certainly risen to the challenge. I have recorded videos teaching them the basics, as well as additional exercises and skipping. My goal is to have them all fully prepped and ready to go for when we can finally meet in person.”

Asked what the biggest challenges have been, trying to direct the show remotely, David said “Zoom has been both our greatest friend and biggest enemy. It has enabled us to make a lot of progress, but it catches you off guard when it just ends the meeting after 40 minutes. That, and you can be speaking to the cast, only to realise you have lost connection to them and your face is frozen on their screen. But we have persevered, and the progress the cast has made in both their character development and their boxing is awesome. I can’t wait until we can all meet in person and really pull it all together. Fingers crossed; the play will go on in September.”