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Four Leeds school students have been cast in a major re-staging of Macbeth alongside Hamilton and Bridgerton star Ash Hunter at Leeds Playhouse.

All four are members of the Playhouse’s Youth Theatre and auditioned for the roles in front of Deputy Artistic Director Amy Leach, who’s directing the production, which proved a hit in 2022 and is now returning to the Quarry theatre from 5-23 March.

Millie Soni, 12, a pupil at Allerton High School, and Kara Francis, 12, from Carr Manor Community School, have been cast as the child of Lord and Lady Macduff. Jayden Jhermaine Candala Seidi Dias, 13, from Cockburn School, and Josh Ndlovu, 14, from Trinity Academy, have been cast as Fleance, son of Banquo.   

Director Amy Leach said: “I’m so excited to be working with these four young actors – I feel so lucky to have a front row seat as they develop their skills and bring a whole new energy to the rehearsal room. I’m particularly thrilled that they’re all part of our Youth Theatre, where we give young people the time, space and resources to explore performance, to have fun – and to audition for incredible productions like Macbeth.” 

Millie said: "I’m delighted to be in the Young Company for such a famous play. As an avid reader, including many of Shakespeare’s exquisite tales, I never imagined myself getting a role in one! It feels unreal. I'm looking forward to slipping into the costume and being consumed by my character. Going from being an ordinary girl to suddenly being transported to the 11th century is going to be magical.” 


Josh said: “I’m so excited to work with amazing people off and on stage in Macbeth. What an experience – just wait for the final result!” 


Kara said: "It's like a dream come true that I am part of this experience, getting to work with such friendly and amazing people. I am so excited to start this journey with the other cast members." 


Jayden said: “I’m very excited to be a part of the play. I’ve been with the Youth Theatre for six months and am so happy to now get to play a part in Macbeth. I’m really looking forward to the rehearsals and to see how it all unfolds.”  


The Playhouse runs weekly drama sessions for 8–21 year-olds, led by outstanding professional artists and support workers. Find out more about its Youth Theatre programme.


Eleanor Manners, Leeds Playhouse Youth Theatre Director, said: “I’m super excited for the Youth Theatre members to be part of Macbeth. It’s such a brilliant opportunity for them to experience the intensive rehearsal process and develop in terms of performance, skills and confidence. It’s one of the many wonderful things about being part of Youth Theatre at the Playhouse that members get to take part in closed auditions for our productions. Not only can they reap the benefits of our facilities, access to shows and sessions working with talented artists, but they also might end up in a major show on our main stage.” 


When it first staged Macbeth in 2022, the Playhouse welcomed 69 school groups from across Yorkshire, introducing more than 5,000 students to the excitement and lasting resonance of the play – and giving some of them their first electrifying experience of live theatre.  


The Playhouse has added even more school-friendly matinee performances this time around and is offering schools an exciting programme of resources and activities connected with the production to bring additional depth and breadth to students’ appreciation of this incredible play. 

The young quartet will act alongside Ash Hunter, who played Alexander Hamilton in the hit West End musical in 2018/19 and starred as Heathcliff in Emma Rice’s acclaimed production of Wuthering Heights at the National Theatre. His TV credits include Netflix mega hit BridgertonAlma’s Not Normal (BBC Two), Grace (ITV), The Trial of Christine Keeler (BBC One) and Death in Paradise (BBC One). 

They will also work with Jessica Baglow as Lady Macbeth, who achieved widespread acclaim in the role when the production was first staged at the Playhouse in 2022. Jessica has worked extensively in theatre, film and TV since childhood, appearing as a series regular in both ITV’s Where The Heart Is and the BBC’s Waterloo Road. Her extensive theatre credits include Pericles at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, for which she received an Ian Charleson Award Commendation.


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