Lucas, 8, stars in blockbuster horror film

A Birstall boy has made his silver screen acting debut in a blockbuster horror film.

Thursday, 7th April 2016, 2:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th April 2016, 2:51 pm

Eight-year-old Lucas Dawson’s “strong Yorkshire accent” endeared him to casting agents for The Witch, according to his mum Lyndsey Norwell.

Auditions for the film, which was released in cinemas nationwide last month, were held in January 2015 when the makers dropped into a session held by the West Yorkshire Drama Academy in Heckmondwike.

Lyndsey, 32, said: “Lucas had only started just before this opportunity came up. It was quite out of the blue. They quite liked that he’s got a natural strong Yorkshire accent.”

The St Patrick’s Primary School pupil then flew out to Ontario, Canada, for filming alongside the likes of Leeds-born Ralph Ineson, who played Amycus Carrow in the last three Harry Potter films.

Lucas, of Monk Ings Avenue, was accompanied by Lyndsey and his sister Lilya, five, and later his dad Dominic Dawson jetted out to see him during the six-week stint.

“It was the first time he had flown or done anything like that so it was an exciting little adventure for him. I’m really, really proud. It’s surreal to see him up there on screen,” said Lyndsey.

The movie, which is director Robert Eggers’ debut, is about a devout Catholic family living in the New England wilderness in 1630. When the newborn baby vanishes, the family turn on each other. Lucas, who was cast when he was just six, played the part of Jonas, one of the young twins.

He was invited to the film’s premiere – but unable to attend because of its 18 rating.

But he has been busy performing in shows for the academy, which has had productions at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds and Bradford’s Alhambra Theatre. It is based at Heckmondwike Community Centre.

The film can be seen at the Showcase cinema in Birstall tonight from 9.45pm.

Director of West Yorkshire Drama Academy Rebecca Foster, 31,

said: “We’ve had quite a few success stories but this is the biggest one to date.

“Lucas is incredibly focused and he works really, really hard. They were looking for a young northern actor who was talented but also a bit of a risk-taker. He’s got a lot of energy.”

Rebecca was impressed with the film, which bagged a directing gong at America’s Sundance Film Festival in 2015.

“It’s fantastic. The acting is believable and that’s why it’s so disturbing. It’s amazing that this young man from Birstall has done it.”

Rebecca set up the academy to provide affordable acting training to young people. To enquire about lessons, call 07845579951.