This is an article published in the latest edition of the Hexpress.
If any reader has never been to the theatre, or has not been recently, then a few minutes with Levi Payne would have you down at the booking office at the Cast Theatre straight away. His enthusiasm for his chosen career as an actor and his love for the theatre is infectious.
Levi is a Hexthorpe young man through and through. He was born here in 1992. He attended the Hexthorpe Primary School. Levi says that his time at the school was great; it was such a friendly place. One day the JKL Company came to involve year 6 in drama. He loved it. It was his first introduction to Shakespeare. He moved on to Balby Carr High School (now a Community Academy) where he took part in various productions, such as ‘Our Day Out’, ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Bugsy Malone’.
My memory of Levi is seeing him regularly going down Old Hexthorpe with his football. They seemed to be never parted and he played to a high standard. However, when he came to his options at school, he had to choose between drama and sport. He chose the former and the rest is history. He took performing arts at GSCE and A Level. Then in 2010 he earned a place at UCL – The University of Central Lancashire, based in Preston. There is a magnificent centre called the Media Factory that has state of the art facilities. It has a high reputation.
Levi says that it was a wonderful experience for him. He learned a lot. ‘I was basically shy, but I developed tremendously over the three years I was there.’ On the successful completion of his course he had to present a ‘Showcase’ to potential agents in Manchester and London. This was somewhat nerve racking, but he was chosen by an agency; he is still with them today. The kind of work he is involved in includes an appearance in an episode of Coronation Street; an engagement by the Crown Court to train prison officers, taking them through various scenarios; an appearance in TV adverts for Vauxhall and Fanta and also ones online.
Levi is also involved in work at the Cast Theatre, Doncaster. One day a member of the JKL group said that she recognised Levi from her visit to Hexthorpe School in 2003. He must have made an impression. She remembered him taking part in a portion of Hamlet. The wheel has gone full circle. Now he is working with them, being involved in shows at the Cast, visiting schools and performing in a version of Macbeth and some comedy scenes from Shakespeare. Levi says that he is learning all the time; he has developed a love for history through the various subject matters of the productions.
It was a pleasure to talk with Levi. He is a very level headed young man. He has an obvious passion for his work. He would love to make a career on the stage. Look out for his name! We should be proud of him; he is proud of his roots. He is an encouragement to us all. DGR