Students preview play as cast calls in the academy

It was a red letter day for Higher Blackley students on Thursday 30 January, as the cast of “Secret Diaries” called in to The Co-operative Academy of Manchester to deliver a special preview performance of their new play and interactive workshop.

The three-strong cast from award winning Manchester theatre company Art With Heart unveiled a revised version of their popular play ahead of its official premiere at The Square Chapel Centre for the Arts in Halifax next month.

Described as a “heart-warming, humorous and honest look at life through teenage eyes” the play, which has been created with support from The Co-operative and The Lord Mayor of Manchester's Charity, “We love MCR”, was followed by an interactive workshop where 15 Year Ten pupils took on roles from the show.

Actress and comedienne Sarah Emmott – who has appeared in Channel 4 comedy “Fresh Meat” - plays lead character Hayley in the play and said: “After sell-out performances in Manchester last year we are really excited to have developed a revised version of “Secret Diaries” and, to have had the opportunity to create special workshop-style performances for schools.

“The workshops will be an integral part of our theatre tour with matinee performances just for schools where students take on the roles and, move the performances that they have seen on stage from action to real-life in order to explore how they might react in a similar situation.”

Kathy Leaver, Principal of The Co-operative Academy of Manchester, said: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to welcome the theatre company to the academy. We are continually exploring different ways for our students to experience, explore and participate with the diverse society around us as we prepare them for successful futures ahead.”

Set to a backdrop of 1980’s hit records, Secret Diaries can be seen at The Square Chapel Centre for the Arts, Halifax, at 8pm on Friday 7 February. For more information visit

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