Award winning writer Ian Kershaw has a special present for his daughters this Christmas – a theatre show inspired by them.
Ian’s modern version of Cinderella is currently running at Lancaster’s Dukes theatre to much critical and audience acclaim.
But there’s two special people Ian particularly wanted to impress – the daughters he shares his home with alongside his actress wife, Julie Hesmondalgh, best known for playing Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street.
“In the conventional story, I think Cinderella is quite a wet character but I wanted to write her as a girl who likes climbing trees and sees the world through the same eyes as my daughters who are 13 and 10,” Ian explained.
Although a well established stage, radio and television writer, Cinderella is the first Christmas show he’s attempted.
“I went back to the original fairytale and took elements that excited me and removed bits that didn’t,” said Ian.
And what he’s produced is the story of gutsy teenager, Ella, who lives on a Northern farm with a stepmother and sisters, recently relocated from Essex, who make her life a misery.
As Ella dreams of a better world, news hits of a party at the palace – is this the ticket to her future?
Performed in The Round at The Dukes, Cinderella also features animal puppets which delight the audience as do the catchy songs which Ian has written the lyrics for – another first for him.
Although he now has a successful career as a writer, Oldham born Ian didn’t visit a theatre until he was 21.
“I saw Richard Harris in a play and that was it. The very next day I packed in my job as a joiner and enrolled on a performing arts course,” he said.
After training at The Royal Welsh College Of Music and Drama, Ian worked as an actor, mainly on television, before becoming a writer and he’s never looked back.
His work includes episodes of Holby City, Eastenders, Casualty, Shameless and Death In Paradise. Earlier this year, he saw his film Castles In The Sky, starring Eddie Izzard as the father of radar, broadcast on BBC2.
Ian also wrote the Radio Academy awardwinning Lost & Found starring Tom Courtney and his new radio comedy series Cleaning Up is due to air on Radio 4 in early 2015.
He has co-written The Mill too for TV with Debbie Oates who wrote The Dukes previous two festive productions and introduced Ian to Joe Sumsion who has directed Cinderella. So now Cinderella is up and running, will Christmas be a chance for Ian to relax at his Derbyshire home? Probably not.
“We absolutely love Christmas but it’s utter chaos,” he said. “We have a very traditional family Christmas at home with our daughters and the grandparents.”
Ian’s wife is currently appearing in God Bless The Child at The Royal Court in London which runs until December 20 so the family plan to see Cinderella when she’s returned home.
One thing’s for sure, it will be a Christmas present neither she nor her daughters will forget.
Cinderella runs until January 10 and is recommended for anyone aged 5 plus.
To book tickets, ring The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit www.dukes-lancaster.org