Quiet please - this is a stick up!

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A FORMER student of Harrogate Grammar School is returning to his hometown as director of a touring theatrical company next week.

Sam Oliver formed the Sheffield-based Awkward Cough Theatre Company in 2009 with two friends while studying drama at Hull University.

The trio, which is completed by Ian Farnell and Tom Booth, were brought together by a similar love of slapstick comedy.

The twenty-something said: “We like to make modern silent comedies. We take the magic of old-time silver screen slapstick, and re-interpret it onstage, but with added spin, and extra funk. We don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

Sam was a member of the National Youth Theatre and has been performing for many years in various youth theatre and semi-professional productions, including Potiphar/Levi in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Randal Patrick McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Their latest show Criminy, a silent comedy about a bank robbery which goes horribly wrong, won glowing notices at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer, including five stars from Fringe Review.

Sam says Awkward Cough prefer to work in pure escapism, providing the opportunity to forget about the troubles of life in a contemporary, innovative but entertaining way.

During his time in Hull, he was a very prominent member of the Donald Roy Theatre, taking an active part in both performative and technical aspects.

Notable roles include Francis Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Silly Billy in Jack and the Beanstalk, Barquentine in Gormenghast, Lee in Motortown, and Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night for Verano Theatre Company.

He has written and directed a full-length play, These Things Take Time, which was professionally performed at the Donald Roy Theatre, and also adapted and directed Jeffrey Brown’s graphic novel Clumsy, which was performed at the Merge Festival at Hull Truck Theatre.

Awkward Cough will be performing Criminy in Harrogate Theatre Studio next Tuesday, February 7 after which the show will move onto the Seagull Theatre in Lowestoft and The Carriageworks in Leeds.

For tickets, telephone 01423 502 116, visit www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk

More information at www.awkwardcough.com