Sudbury: Zombie invasion beckons as actor returns to roots

The Quay Theatre

The Quay Theatre - Credit: Archant

A quiet country theatre will undergo a chilling transformation when it becomes the set for a new independent film.

Sudbury actor Joshua Dickinson is to make a film set at the Quay Theatre in Sudbury

Sudbury actor Joshua Dickinson is to make a film set at the Quay Theatre in Sudbury - Credit: Archant

Budding local actors looking to break into the industry will also have a chance to get a gruesome makeover and appear in the movie as ‘zombie extras’.

Sudbury’s Quay Theatre is to provide the backdrop for Opening Night of the Living Dead, a zombie/comedy movie written by local actor, Joshua Dickinson. The 24-year-old originally penned the story as a play for the 2009 Edinburgh Festival, where it received rave reviews.

The plot centres on the goings on backstage during an amateur dramatics production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The show doesn’t go according to plan when the dead start attacking the living and cause more problems than a few fluffed lines.

Despite the horrors backstage, with true theatrical zeal, the cast and crew decide the show must go on. Joshua is also a talented actor who has most recently starred in the BBC drama Holby City.

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He said: “I wrote Opening Night of the Living Dead when I was at drama school because I wanted something that would stand out at the Edinburgh Festival.

“I have recently been putting together a production company and wanted to take on a more challenging project so it seemed like a natural progression to turn my zombie play into a film.

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“I needed to get a location for the film and because I joined the Quay’s youth theatre when I was young, I was very familiar with the building and thought it would make an ideal setting. Thankfully, they were happy to accommodate us.”

Filming will take place from July 21 to 25 and August 3 to 9 and Joshua said he will be seeking local people to appear as zombies in the movie, alongside some of his cast mates from Holby City.

Although he has recently been appearing in the high profile TV show, Joshua has also worked as a landscape gardener and in the London Dungeons to help support his acting career. His parents still live in Sudbury and he attended Uplands Middle and Sudbury Upper School, where he appeared in numerous productions.

He said he was particularly happy to be working in his home town again, adding: “I was very lucky to get to play lots of great parts while I was at the upper school which gave a me a good grounding for drama school.

“I come back to Sudbury as often as I can and lots of my friends still live locally. They are excited about the film project and I am really looking forward to showing people first hand the work that I do.”

The project is being funded via the organisation Kickstarter, where people pledge money to back a film. If donations reach a set target, they get to keep the funding.

Joshua’s goal was £3,000 but in the end he achieved more than £4,300.

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