Trio of actors from Ramsbottom theatre company land TV jobs

Ralf Little, Kate O’Flynn and Zak Ford-Williams were all members of the Young Company at Summerseat Players’ Theatre Royal in Smithy Street, Ramsbottom.

Ralf, from Ramsbottom, is now a familiar face as the hypochondriac DI Neville Parker in BBC1’s crime drama Death In Paradise, his previous credits include sitcoms Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and The Royle Family.

When he appeared in Who Do You Think You Are he discussed his acting roots at Summerseat.

The Bolton News: Zak Ford Williams in BetterZak Ford Williams in Better (Image: BBC/Sister Pictures/Ross Fergusan)

Kate, from Holcombe Brook, has TV, stage and film credits and also played Ralf’s sister Izzy in Death In Paradise.

She is currently starring as Fiona in a Channel 4 sitcom about an ultra-religious family from Manchester – Everyone Else Burns.

At Summerseat she played a fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2000 and she attended the Royal Exchange Youth Theatre.

Zak Ford-Williams, from Ramsbottom, is currently playing Owen, the son of corrupt police detective Leila Farzad in the gritty BBC1 drama Better.

Young Company Leader Paul Bracewell said: “Zak was a member of our Youth Group which used to be run by his grandad Doug.

“It was Doug’s idea for Zak to join the group as he has cerebral palsy and was lacking in confidence.

“Zak managed to get into the Royal Exchange Young Company, went on to do a degree, graduating in 2020, and has not been out of work since.”

Chair of Summerseat Players Emma Morris said: “Ralf’s grandmother Marjorie was one of the founding members of Summerseat Players in 1967 and all three came here initially as members of the Young Company because they had relatives who were involved with the Players.

The Bolton News: Theatre Royal, RamsbottomTheatre Royal, Ramsbottom (Image: Google)

“When we held the 50th anniversary celebration of our first production, Ralf and Kate came back to cut the cake.

“As Kate’s parents are both still involved with the theatre as volunteers and her mum acts in productions, she often pops in to see the performances.

“Zak’s career is developing and he is doing really well. We are going to invite him to become a patron of our Young Company.”

Summerseat Players held its first production Celebration at St Wilfrid’s Church Hall, Summerseat, in November 1968, when tickets were 5 shillings or 3 shillings for OAPs and students.

They went on to buy the former church hall at Waterside and in 1991, moved into the former Royal cinema and snooker hall in Ramsbottom and converted it into the Theatre Royal.

It is owned outright by the Players, a registered charity, and boasts a 205-seat main auditorium and upstairs the newly renamed Geoffrey Sword Studio where an audience of 60 watch performances in the round.

The Bolton News | Theatre