South Shields actress gets career off to flying start

Sarah Balfour.
Sarah Balfour.

An aspiring actress from South Tyneside has landed a professional part in a play immediately after graduating from a prestigious London theatre school.

Sarah Balfour who was born and bred in South Shields, had all but completed her training at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) in South West London - where she gained first class degree - when she got her first job.

Sarah Balfour on stage during her time at ALRA.

Sarah Balfour on stage during her time at ALRA.

The talented 21-year-old will be starring in Sid and Viv alongside household names like Charlie Hardwick (Emmerdale, Loose women) and Patrick Driver (Call the Midwife, Silent Witness).

Sarah will be playing Lesley in Philip Correia’s debut as a playwright, which will run for four weeks in London before coming to Northern Stage in Newcastle.

She said: “I had just about come out of drama school and I never dreamed it would happen this quickly.

“I play Lesley – a 16-year-old girl. It’s quite a comedic character. It’s a coming-of-age drama about how kids grow up in this day and age.”

I had just about come out of drama school and I never dreamed it would happen this quickly

Sarah Balfour

For Sarah, acting is something she always wanted to do.

She said: “I started going to stage school when I was about five. I was mainly part of John Christopher Theatre Company from 14 to 18 and did all the productions at the Tyne Theatre and the Customs House. Before that I was at stage school in Gateshead.”

Sarah, whoe parent live in Mitford Road, South Shields, has been singing, dancing and acting for as long as she can remember, but theatre is her main passion.

She said: “I like theatre – my heart has always been in theatre. When I was in secondary school I decided to do something with my life which would make me happy.”

Sarah Balfour graduates from ALRA.

Sarah Balfour graduates from ALRA.

Rehearsals for Sid and Viv start on August 7, with the opening night in London on August 30, but Sarah isn’t nervous.

“Not yet,” she said. “Not until the opening night. I’m more excited than anything else.

“It is a bit nerve-racking being my first show, but I’m so glad that it’s a Geordie show.

The show will run at Theatre503 in Battersea before transferring to Northern Stage in for two nights in October.

ALRA graduate Sarah Balfour with Northern Stage tickets

ALRA graduate Sarah Balfour with Northern Stage tickets

Mr Correia said of his play, which is directed by Jonny Kelly: “We’ve gotten so accustomed to the message of division in the UK we’ve forgotten how to imagine.

“We can change the message through inclusion. That’s the story of Sid and Viv. This play is about community. It’s about inclusion and laughter and people.

“Arts participation in the North East is around 31%. This is a play to change that.

“Our cast is North Eastern. We’re showcasing them in London and then taking them back home.”