Colne director praises Burnley Pantomime Society actor who has helped to save Pendle play

Alan Hargreaves, director of Billy Liar, to be performed at The ACE Centre by The Garrick. Credit: Colin Antill Photography. (s)
Alan Hargreaves, director of Billy Liar, to be performed at The ACE Centre by The Garrick. Credit: Colin Antill Photography. (s)

A Burnley actor has helped to save a Pendle play just three weeks before opening night.

Gary Leonard stepped in to take the place of an original cast member of who was forced to drop out of Billy Liar following a skateboarding accident two weeks ago.


Leighton Hunt, who was playing Arthur Crabtree in The Garrick show at The ACE Centre, suffered a serious fracture to his lower left leg.


Director Alan Hargreaves said: “Sleepless nights followed as we tried to find a replacement. Every effort was made: telephone calls; emails; text messages; Facebook; we tried the lot.
“In the end it took a simple telephone call from Jonathan Pye, who is playing Billy, to his friend Gary Leonard and the part was re-cast.”


Set in the 1960s in a Northern, working-class town, the play follows the life of teenager Billy: a dreamer; a fantasist; a manipulator of the truth.


But his lies begin to spiral out of control, causing trouble at home, work and in his love life.


Brimming with comedy, poignancy and pathos, the show comes with a wealth of challenges.


“Gary and Jonathan only weeks earlier had been playing principal parts in Burnley Pantomime Society’s production of Jack and the Beanstalk,” Alan said.


But, he added: “After losing one talented young actor Leighton, we found a worthy replacement in another in Gary.


“We wish Leighton a speedy recovery, and urge him to keep his feet on solid ground in the future.”


Wednesday to Saturday, March 20th to 23rd, 7-30pm.

Tickets: £12 (standard); £11 (senior citizens); and £8 (juniors); 01282 661234, 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.