Student plans career on the stage after landing role in youth drama

LANDING a role in a hard-hitting youth drama, has spurred on Ralph Botham’s plans to become a director or make his career on the stage.

In 2019 Ralph, 15, from Rising Bridge, joined Summerseat Players’ Youth Group at the Theatre Royal in Ramsbottom. Back then, there were plans to stage DNA, a dark drama where a group of teenagers commit a terrible act which they then immaturely and messily try to cover up.

The opening scene sees Ralph as Mark, along with Jan, played by Jamie Morris, hinting at the events that he had been involved in.

DNA is based on the book by Dennis Kelly and was adapted for the National Theatre.

Ralph, a Year 10 student at Haslingden High School, said: “I have been involved in productions since I was in reception at primary school, but this was my first proper stage show.

“It is something I want to pursue and I have been looking at college courses and sixth form courses because I want to go into directing too.”

The ceiling above the Theatre Royal’s main stage has been damaged, and so the play was performed in the upstairs Studio, and in the round with the audience seated around the perimeter of the room.

Ralph said: “On the first night I was my most nervous, although we had done rehearsals every single night of the week before so we were ready.

“When we walked on the stage, and started to set the scene, we knew we had to keep the energy up because it was the very start of the play.”

DNA was directed by Jon Walker, co-directed by Steven Hopkins and Assistant director was Freddie Gorton, a member of the youth group, and Ralph said it was good getting the different opinions and views on how the lines should be performed.

He said the directors were thorough and made sure the young actors considered the scenes that had happened before their lines, and how what they said would lead into what was to come.

Ralph said: “Before we had a rehearsal and before the show, we did a lot of warm ups and vocal warm ups and that was good.

“It was fun seeing each night how the different audiences reacted to the scenes.”

DNA was staged from April 23 to 30.