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Rising Ilkeston theatre star’s Edinburgh Fringe bid

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A rising theatre star from Ilkeston is hoping to take his work to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

William Harrison, 21, is appealing for people from his home town to help get his debut play to the festival this summer.

Now based in Debden, Essex, William will graduate from East 15 Acting School in July.

He has teamed up with fellow student, Sam Edmunds, to launch Chalk Link Theatre Company and develop their first stage play, Testament.

The production has already won the Epping Forest Creativity Award 2018 and is on course to feature at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

William said: “The Edinburgh Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world. It is both a playground and a proving ground for new works created by artists. The festival itself is by no means a money making venture for emerging artists but rather an essential stepping stone to allow artists to begin their career. Ultimately we want to be taking work on London, regional and international tours but all this can be near impossible if no one knows who you are or has seen your work. The fringe then is the perfect chance for this as it’s open to anyone and everyone - if you have the money!

“Fundamentally the reason we make this work is we want to get it in front of people. Life today can be intense, and I firmly believe art is essential to escape from that. This can be from a simple serial that you sit and watch with your family, to going out there and witnessing something truly spectacular that inspires you to change your life.”

William grew up in Ilkeston with parents, Dean and Jackie, both 51, and older brother Shaun, 25. A pupil at Charlotte Street Infants, Granby Junior School and Ilkeston School, William went on to Bilborough College before heading to Essex to study Contemporary Theatre at East 15 Acting School.

Dad, Dean, said: “We are so proud and excited for him. It’s gone absolutely mad in the last few months. We knew he’d got the aptitude for theatre when he was about seven or eight and was in a play at Granby School. He had a role as Sergeant Snowdrop, who was a really big in-your-face character. We bought a piano when he was about 11 and he just took to it. He’s now doing acting, writing, directing and he’s extremely musical. We’ve always encouraged him to do these kinds of things - fingers crossed it’s all going to keep on going really well for him.”

To donate, search Testament at click.hubbub.net.