Audience loved Cavalier tale penned by Alfred, 11

Schoolboy playwright Alfred Dermo has had his first play performed by professional actors at the tender age of 11.

Friday, 12th July 2013, 5:04 pm
Alfred Dermo, front, second from left, the schoolboy who had his work performed in the "Hebden Shorts" section of Hebden Bridge Arts Festival

The Year 6 Riverside pupil submitted his short play Darkness Falls after Hebden Bridge Arts Festival issued a call for new scribes to submit work for their “Shorts” season showcasing local talent.

Darkness Falls tells the tale of two Cavaliers on the run in Hebden Bridge after the execution of King Charles I who end up in the town’s historic White Lion inn with tragic consequences.

“I’m really interested in massive events in history and how they affect ordinary people involved in them,” says Alfred. “I saw the competition advertised, and at the time I didn’t realise it was for adults, so I just sent the play in.”

Although Alfred’s work didn’t make the final three the Shorts team were so impressed by his potential that they decided that Darkness Falls should be performed by professional actors at a special script in-hand reading.

Festival artistic director Helen Meller said: “We were not only impressed by Alfred’s confidence in submitting a play, but so bowled over by the quality of his writing we felt it needed be performed in public. We asked the actors who were all happy to perform it script in hand, and they read it at the end of our Hebden Bridge Saturday matinee. The audience loved it and Alfred clearly has a huge amount of potential.”

Darkness Falls was performed by local actors Lisa Allen, Duncan Burt, Alan French, Jo Gerard, Lucy Rafton and Becky Dewis in front of a full house that included Alfred’s dad John.

“I am so, so proud that Alfred’s work was performed by top quality professional actors in front of an audience. It was amazing,” says John.

Alfred isn’t resting on his laurels and has already started work on his next project. “It was great to Darkness Falls but I have written a sitcom called School’s Out and we’ve performed one episode at school. I’m working on the second episode now,” he said.

Producers hope the Shorts will be return in 2014 and Alfred’s success will encourage more young playwrights to answer the call.