Derby Theatre pays tribute to former Youth Theatre member Lewis Sewell

On Friday 25 September at 5pm, Derby Theatre will pay tribute to former Youth Theatre member Lewis Sewell, who tragically passed away from a rare Metastatic Rhaboid tumour in August, by sharing a recording of The Blue Road as a Facebook Premiere.

Lewis appeared alongside his fellow Youth Theatre members and friends in the production in 2017. The sharing of the play is part of a day arranged by his family to celebrate his life.

On the ward where Lewis received his treatment, there is a bell that patients ring when their treatment is over. Lewis never got to ring the bell.

On Friday, it will be a year since Lewis was first taken into hospital, and at 3pm on the day, churches all over the world have pledged to ring their bells for him, as a way of marking his passing and celebrating his life, and because he didn’t get the chance to do it for himself.

The showing of The Blue Road will then follow on the same day at 5pm, accessed via Derby Theatre’s Facebook page through Facebook Premiere.

Lewis was an avid lover of theatre and the arts, and in the time leading up to his sad passing, his family were determined to gather as many tributes from actors and creatives within the theatre and arts world to share with him as they could.

When Lewis’ family reached out for tributes, the response was extraordinary and overwhelming, which resulted in Lewis receiving many incredible messages of support and well wishes, including ones from Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Morpurgo, Arlene Phillips, Alistair Petrie from TV’s Sex Education, Laura Aikman and Robert Wilfort from BBC’s Gavin and Stacey, Adil Ray from Citizen Khan, Madeline Appiah from In The Long Run, Stirling Gallacher from Coronation Street, Matt Kennard from Waterloo Road and Peter Housten Reid, Manaia Glasey Olsen, Sharon Rose and Alyson Ava Brown from the smash-hit American musical, Hamilton.

These tributes were also shown at Lewis’ funeral on Friday 4 September. Donations to Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People in memory of Lewis, a charity close to his and his family’s heart, will be gratefully received and can be made online at https://lewissewell.muchloved.com.

Caroline Barth (Creative Learning Director, Derby Theatre) said:

“Lewis was as an extremely dedicated, mature and talented actor – with an extraordinary level of depth and stage presence for someone of his age. He was with us for six years and his commitment to the work, the group and all his friends was outstanding.

We are sharing the film of The Blue Road with a public audience on Friday as this was a very special production that Lewis loved. It was written by Derby-born playwright, Laura Lomas with and for our group, along with three other youth theatres across the UK. We hope people will join us, and the rest of the Youth Theatre members, to watch it and thereby remember Lewis and celebrate his life. We will also be dedicating and naming a seat at the Theatre in memory of Lewis.”

The Blue Road is written by Laura Lomas and directed by Nicola Bellenger. The cast also includes Niamh Atkinson, Emily Beardsley, Abby Caister, Daisy Chell, Daisy Drakeford, Joshua Gill, Philippa Gurney, Iris Harwood, Zachary Jackson, Charlie Mackenzie-Barrow, Tobias Kunz, Tom Monahan and Rebecca Pipes.

A full recording of The Blue Road will be shared by Derby Theatre as a Facebook Premiere on Friday 25 September at 5pm.

Watch on Facebook

Photos: Derby Youth Theatre production of The Blue Road, 2017 © Robert Day

Download The Blue Road Programme