by Julia Taylor

FLIXTON based Joe Meighan was only 15 when he founded Meighan Youth Theatre Productions.

Now nearing 20 he has produced 11 musicals including Les Miserables, a hit at Altrincham Garrick last year.

What’s more, seven members of his company are studying drama at Mountview Aademy in London including Joe himself.

He has now finished his first year so he’s back with MYT working on Harold Pinter’s Betrayal.

He said: “Mount View has changed my attitude to theatre. Now I get a lot more excited about works which have not been commercially popular.

“Betrayal is a well-respected play in the industry although it’s a rarity in Manchester.

“My company has only done one straight play before and that was the non-musical version of Blood Brothers at Lostock College five years ago.”

Joe said Betrayal is one of his favourites and will use the skills of members who are strong actors but prefer straight plays to musicals.

He is directing a cast of four aged between 16 and 21.

The play has been set it in Salford with one character living in Altrincham to avoid the need for accents.

“This puts less pressure on the actors. I think it is a nice touch, he said.

“The plot is about two married people who have spent their afternoons together in a flat for seven years before returning to their spouses in the evening,” he said.

“I think Emma and Jerry are genuinely in love. Their affair comes out of the blue and they are leading a double life.

“Harold Pinter himself had an affair which spanned seven years. It was revealed after he had written it and he admitted he had based it slightly on his own situation.

“The most difficult thing for us is getting our heads round it. Once we understand it, the audience will understand it, too.

Rehearsals will not begin until the week before the performance although the cast already have the script.

*Betrayal is at Z-Arts, Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester, at 3 pm and 8 pm on August 2. Tickets, priced £10, are available from 0161 232 6089 or