A profile of two performers appearing in Wigan Little Theatre's latest production

Each time a new production is put together by Wigan Little Theatre it involves a different combination of talents.

Some, but rarely all, of those involved have worked together on stage or behind the scenes. Some are seasoned performers and some are first timers.

So in anticipation of WLT’s latest play – Spring and Port Wine which runs from January 25 to February 4 – here is a little insight to the stories of two of its cast members.

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Peter Hall takes the role of Rafe, whose part in the famous film was played by James Mason.

Maria Lowe is making her debut with Wigan Little Theatre in Spring and Port Wine

Peter has graced the stage at WLT since 1992, his first role being the landlord in‘Saturday Night At The Crown.

Some of his notable and favourite roles have been Frank in Educating Rita, Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and Mr Tom in Goodnight Mr Tom. He’s also been cast in many other plays and musicals, as well as pantomimes.

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With no formal drama training, he says he learned much from talented and experienced directors and fellow cast members at WLT over the years.

Peter Hall is now into his fourth decade of performances with Wigan Little Theatre

Acting is just the tip of the amdram iceberg, and he has also played his part backstage and in the theatre’s administration, in the roles of former chairman and treasurer.

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Peter said: I auditioned for Spring And Port Wine because I have strong memories of being a teenager watching the 1970 film featuring James Mason as Rafe Crompton, and the lovely Susan George as Hilda. Some years ago, my wife, Pat, and I co-directed another Bill Naughton classic – All In Good Time – also set in the ’60s.

“I am the most senior member of this exciting cast by some considerable distance. It’s a new experience for me, and I have been impressed by how quickly new and young members take advice on board and are willing to listen to a dinosaur like myself.”

For Maria Lowe, 26, who plays young Hilda, it’s a debut appearance on WLT’s stage, not that she’s new to the performing arts.

She studied it at St John Fisher RC High School and went on to sit A-levels at St John Rigby Copllege, after which she was invited to join The Young Company at The Royal Exchange. Maria not only performed in that venerable space but toured Greater Manchester primary schools with performances. She honed her own stagecraft as well as teaching pupils the joys of acting and performing,

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While at the Royal Exchange, she was invited to join the funded John Thaw Trainee Scheme, part of which involved working the Lowry, mentoring and teaching seven to 11-year-olds on their visits to the gallery.

After this production she will be concentrating on her next project when she will gain experience in event management and outdoor performance, culminating in a celebratory festival in Wigan in summer 2023.

Maria said: “It’s been so interesting working on Spring and Port Wine, it’s set in such a different time and place, when families spent so much more time together, ate together and sang around the piano.

"It’s given me so much insight to those times, so different to the way we live today, when we’re all doing our own thing, eating at different times and with individual interests. I’m really enjoying being part of the Crompton family, it’s given me a real feeling of community and togetherness that existed when the play was written.

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Spring and Port Wine features the Cromptons who live in 1960s Bolton. The family peace is shattered when the two generations clash. An incident during a family meal causes explosive and often comical moments

Book at wiganlittletheatre.co.uk or on 24 hour telephone booking service – 0333 666 3366