IT’S a long way from the studios of ITV, but actor Steve Arnold says he feels right at home on a Portsea stage.
The 40-year-old star, best known for playing Ashley Peacock in Coronation Street, is rehearsing for a trio of forest-themed plays at the Groundlings Theatre.
Steve will tread the boards in The Jungle Book, The Darling Buds of May and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
He said he was thrilled about being cast in the shows.
‘I’m really looking forward it,’ Steve said.
‘Every job I’ve done since I’ve left the Street has been different and that’s exactly what I’ve wanted to do.
‘I’ve wanted to be challenged.
‘So when I heard about doing three shows in the space of seven weeks it ticked all the boxes for me.’
The plays are part of an Into The Woods festival at the Groundlings in April and May.
The theatre’s artistic director Richard Stride said all three plays would use the same elaborate woodland set.
‘I liked the idea of having this theme in April and May because it’s just at the start of the summer,’ he said.
‘We thought it would be great to transform the stage and bring the outside inside.’
Richard said he was delighted to have Steve involved in the plays.
He said: ‘He’s a really good actor and the audience is going to see a very different side of him to Ashley Peacock.
‘He’ll be playing three completely different personas which will be fascinating to see.’
Other than Steve, Denmead’s Leah Lloyd is the only other actor to have been cast in all three plays.
Leah, 19, said one of her roles was Kaa the snake in The Jungle Book.
She said: ‘It’s not often I get to play a darker character like a snake. Normally I’m cast as the nice girl next door.
‘I’m also doing the choreography for the shows, so coming up with routines as well as learning lines.
‘For someone of my age to get this experience is absolutely amazing.’
The Jungle Book will run from April 22 to May 3 and A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be on from May 7 to May 16. The Darling Buds of May will be performed from May 25 to May 30.