A YOUNG actor, singer and writer from South Derbyshire returns to his old stomping ground next week to appear in a performance of a dark theatrical masterpiece.
Paul Sysrtad, a former Burton College student from Willington, last appeared in these pages three years ago when he was staging his self-penned musical, Intertwined, at Burton’s Brewhouse arts centre.
The 21-year-old is now in his final year at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama (CSSD), and takes a leading role in the school’s production of Spring Awakening at Derby’s Guildhall Theatre.
The performance is based on former poet laureate Ted Hughes’s translation of an influential work by German playwright Frank Wedekind, and is not for the fainthearted, as Syrstad explains.
He said: “It’s quite a terrifying piece, based in Germany in 1910, and deals with major adult themes such as sexual awakening, suicide and rape. It’s quite a horrific world but seen through the eyes of 14 and 15-year-olds.
“I play the character of Moritz, who is a really nice, open character whose got some major problems, who finds the whole world of the sexual and the need to please others a bit much, so ends up taking matters into his own hands.”
His time at CSSD has given Syrstad a thorough grounding in all aspects of theatre and the chance to explore his interest in film.
He took the role of Cassius in a British Youth Film Academy production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, which was nominated for best micro-budget feature film in the prestigious Raindance Film Festival last year.
He said: “I’d like to act first of all and I also quite like studio theatre and musical writing but I also really enjoy the medium of film and television. I know it’s a hard industry to get into but I’d really like to do that.”
Spring Awakening runs at the Guildhall Theatre, in Market Place, Derby, from Wednesday (November 28) to Friday at 7.30pm each night, plus a 2.30pm matinee on Thursday.
Tickets, priced £10 or £8 for concessions, are available online at www.derbylive.co.uk or by calling 01332 255800.