Lytham Hall's home for this Heathcliff
What does Tom Hardy, Laurence Olivier, Timothy Dalton, Joel Fry, and Sir Cliff Richard have in common?
They have all played Heathcliff - some more convincingly than others.
Now a former Blackpool and Fylde College’s School of Creative Arts graduate is set to take on the role.
Aaron Charles, 23, seems to have cornered the market in brooding Bronte heroes.
He returned in triumph to the Fylde last year to play Rochester in Chapterhouse Theatre Company’s production of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre for the opening of Lytham Hall’s outdoor theatre season.
Now Aaron’s heading back to play Emily Bronte’s creation Heathcliff in Chapterhouse’s open air production of Wuthering Heights at Lytham Hall on Sunday June 12.
The real star, as ever, is likely to be the backdrop, and that could tell some stories too, the Grade One-listed Georgian mansion having seen its share of love, romance, high drama, heroics and changing fortunes long before it became a stately and spectacular location for touring performances.
Aaron, who now lives in Southampton, graduated in 2013, and has fond memories of his three years at the college, appearing in shows produced by Sarah Stone, Michael Holdsworth and Anthony Dalnas.
He recalls: “My time in Blackpool was a formative experience in my life and a thorough training for being a professional actor. I enjoyed the teaching and the people very much.
“Our date at Lytham Hall comes right at the start of a two-month summer tour which takes us the length and breadth of the country and I am hoping to see a few familiar faces in the Lytham audience.”
The role has attracted some of the biggest names in stage, film and TV versions of Emily Bronte’s popular novel, including Laurence Olivier in 1939, Timothy Dalton in 1970, Ralph Fiennes and Tom Hardy in 2009. Sir Cliff turned it into a (much panned) musical in the mid-90s, sinking £2m into his dream.
Aaron is cast opposite Emily-Rose Hurdiss’ Cathy and says the whole cast has gelled.
“A live stage performance is a demanding challenge for me, but it is a wonderful adaptation and I am sure that we will not visit a better venue than Lytham Hall.”