A student teacher from Sprotbrough says an experience she had on stage as a child has shaped her life choices.

Eleanor Green was just nine years old when she appeared in balletLORENT's Rapunzel during the opening season of Doncaster theatre Cast in 2013.

The former Copley Junior School pupil, now aged 19 and a student at the University of Derby, was one of 12 children selected to take part in the show alongside a professional cast.

For Eleanor, the opportunity was a formative moment and she says she is now training to become a primary school teacher so she can offer the next generation of children the same kind of creative experiences she had.

Eleanor has been invited back to the theatre as a special guest during its 10th anniversary season, which features a reworked version of balletLORENT's classic Rapunzel - the same production which saw Eleanor's debut. Eleanor is now looking forward to watching a new, young 'community cast' from a local school enjoy their first experience of the professional stage.

Eleven young people from Bentley High Street Primary, all aged eight and nine, will join the professional cast on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 September. The popular dance theatre production has been brought back to Cast for its 10th anniversary year celebrations, which also coincides with balletLORENT's 30th year of making dance theatre for all ages.

Eleanor said: "I was a part of the cast of balletLORENT's Rapunzel when I was nine. 

"This performance was where my spark for being on stage began. From this, I went on to take part in a range of shows, from the professional UK tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to lead roles such as Annie in the show Annie at Cast.

"I have now moved to University in Derby and am studying to become a primary school teacher. As part of my studies and eventually my job, I hope to continue with the love of music and performing which I found from a young age and to share it with children who may want to discover theirs too. 

"The exposure to self expression and creativity I received from working with balletLORENT at Cast was fantastic and something I will always remember, even though I was only young at the time. 

"The feeling of security and happiness between the professional performers and the children can never be forgotten. Our love of music and performance truly connected us."

Eleanor's mum, Naomi Darley, has her own fond memories of when her daughter first appeared onstage at Cast. 

She said: "My own personal memory of this time is one of great happiness and something I always remember. Seeing everyone on stage and performing was just incredible. Of course seeing Eleanor was a great joy and I felt so proud she was able to perform with such lovely people."

James MacGillivray, education and projects manager, balletLORENT, said: "Since balletLORENT began creating work in 1993, inviting a community cast of local people to perform with us whenever we tour has been a fundamental part of how we work.

"Hundreds of school children - as well as adults - have joined our professional dancers on stage and experienced what it is like to perform in some of the best theatres around the country, with some of the best dancers.

"It's always a two way street because we also learn a lot from the young people who come and rehearse and perform with us. The way children move is so spontaneous and free.

"It will be lovely to catch up with Eleanor, a decade on, when she comes to see us at Cast in September."

In balletLORENT’s version of timeless fairy tale Rapunzel, specially written by former poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, a flame-haired Rapunzel becomes entrapped in a tower with only a possessive witch and her pet creatures for company. A prince, drawn by the sound of her singing, attempts to rescue her, but they end up rescuing each other.


Rapunzel is suitable for ages 5+ and the show is narrated throughout, helping the youngest audience members to follow the story. 

Friday 8 September at 6pm and Saturday 9 September 2023 at 2.30pm
Tickets from £14
Click here to book tickets

An adult retelling, called Rapunzel After Dark, has been made for audiences aged 16+

Rapunzel After Dark
Saturday 9 September 2023 at 8pm
Tickets from £14
 Click here to book tickets