Actress Faye's life comes in full circle with starring role at Harrogate Theatre

A rising star of the acting world who grew up in Harrogate is bouncing back from the pandemic with a starring role in an award-winning show set amid the first wave of migrant workers in 1950s Bradford.

By Graham Chalmers
Friday, 20th May 2022, 4:53 pm
Updated Friday, 20th May 2022, 4:55 pm

Twentysomething Faye Weerasinghe, who went to St Aidan’s High School before graduating from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, had been all set for her first professional role before Covid hit.

“My career has all been stop-start since I graduated in 2018,” she said.

“I had just got my first proper job when it got cancelled because of Covid.

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Harrogate born actress Faye Weerasinghe has bagged a starring role in an award-winning show

“I first appeared on stage in Harrogate as a four or five-year-old in Annie and I later performed with Harrogate Operatic Players and Stagecoach Performing Arts.”

“I went to St Aidan’s because it has such a good drama department.

“I remember appearing in a musical called Boiling Frog at Harrogate Theatre when I was about 12.

“To be coming back at the age of 25 in the main auditorium with this tour feels like my life has come full circle.”

The show Faye will be playing the lead role in - Full English - is a poignant and funny look at life on the Canterbury Estate in Bradford when migrant workers started to arrive from Pakistan and Bangladesh and romance blossomed between locals and newcomers.

Based on the real-life experiences of writer-actor Natalie Davies, this entertaining drama about the search for identity in mixed race families, which arrives at Harrogate Theatre on Thursday, June 2, won a major award at last year’s Asian Media Awards.

It’s a story which Faye, whose own family roots are in Sri Lanka, says resonates with some of her own life experiences.

“I’m very grateful for my upbringing in Harrogate.

“But doing this piece has made me think about my childhood days and being different. It’s brought it all to the surface.”

Part of a tightly-knit three-person cast, after the challenges of the pandemic, Faye is delighted to have won such a plum role.

But, after the problems for everyone in the arts caused by lockdown, Faye admits luck has played its part.

“It’s Natalie’s own story and she has always played herself in the play. But she’s been so busy recently appearing in the hit female-led comedy Hullraisers on Channel 4,” said Faye who is also currently a presenter on BBC Radio Leeds.

“Natalie wanted to do the tour but she’s got more filming to do.

"She needed to find an actor with a two-week window for the tour and, fortunately, that’s me.

“But she’s been at all the rehearsals. You can see how much it means to her.”

Bent Architect presents Full English at Harrogate Theatre on, Thursday, June 2, 7.30pm.

For tickets and more information, visit www.harrogate theatre.co.uk