Showtime for creative Jane

SHOWTIME: Jane Griffin, director chairman of Carlinghow Theatre Company.

SHOWTIME: Jane Griffin, director chairman of Carlinghow Theatre Company.

FOR Jane Griffin, the theatre is a family affair.

Chairwoman of Carlinghow Theatre Company, she has been treading the boards since the age of nine, following in the footsteps of her father, David Hunt.

Mr Hunt was chairman of Morley Amateurs and a regular pantomime dame. Jane often joined him on stage, sparking a love of performance and all things theatrical.

“I started out watching my dad in panto and thinking ‘wow, that’s great’,” Jane said.

“I was so proud of him.”

Tomorrow night, her company’s production of Cinderella, which she wrote and directed, will debut for a four-show run at Batley Town Hall.

“This will be the 21st panto that I’ve been involved in, and the fifth production of Cinderella,” Jane said.

“They say everybody has a novel in them – mine just ended up being a panto!”

Jane said she had always been enthusiastic about community theatre and its benefits.

“I’ve worked with some fabulous people in some really great societies,” she said.

“I wanted to go into directing so I did that seven years ago, which was fabulous because it’s a natural progression.”

Jane has sung, danced and acted in 68 shows, including much loved musicals Calamity Jane, Oklahoma and The Sound of Music.

Her favourite role was Rose in the musical Gypsy – and as well as playing the lead, Jane also directed the production.

“It’s one of the greatest parts in musical theatre so I was very proud of that,” she said.

But after years on stage, Jane, 45, decided she wanted to help nurture the next generation of talent.

And the theatre tradition looks set to continue in the Griffin family, with her daughters Olivia, 16, and Alexandra, 13, following in her footsteps and performing in Cinderella this weekend.

But its not just the actors that make Carlinghow Theatre Company successful.

Jane said: “Community theatre is more than acting, there’s something for everybody.”

From choreographers to costume markers, set artists and lighting technicians, preparing for a show brings together volunteers from across the community.

“It’s a real team effort to get the production put together,” Jane said.

“We’re so fortunate; we have an army of helpers that don’t get the credit and the bows.

“It’s lovely to be on stage and have the lights on you, singing the songs, but you can’t do that without your production team and backstage helpers.”

And the team has its work cut out, with preparations for September’s production of Singing in the Rain soon to begin.

Jane will also perform at Batley Town Hall on March 9 with Songsational to raise money for the Yorkshire Regiment Benevolent Trust.




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