Chess cast

Florence Vassy: Gemma Durkin

Gemma trained in singing, acting and dance from an early age and has performed with Manchester Youth Theatre, National Youth Music Theatre and at the Edinburgh Fringe.  As a Cambridge University Choral Scholar, she toured throughout the UK, Europe, Singapore and Australia.

The has played various principal roles including Dorothy (The Wizard of Oz), Miss Dorothy (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Julie Jordan (Carousel), and Louise ‘Gypsy Rose Lee’ (Gypsy) for which she was awarded the Wharfedale Festival of Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Musical.  With LAOS, Gemma played Tuptim in The King & I, Belle in Beauty & the Beast, and Nellie Forbush in South Pacific.

Professional credits include Little Cosette in Les Misérables at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, We’ll Meet Again and Bugsy Malone for BBC Radio, and for television Emmerdale, Smokescreen and Blood & Peaches.

Freddie Trumper, The American: Alex Hogg

Alex first became involved in musical theatre at the age of eleven, and has taken on a wide range of roles over the years.  He has performed in venues across the UK, from the Edinburgh Fringe to Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s West End.

Alex joined LAOS in 2005 to play Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar – one of his favourite roles and one he has played four times now, also with Harrogate St Andrew’s Players, York Stage Musicals, and Stage 84 (Edinburgh Fringe production).  Other roles close to his heart are Galileo in We Will Rock You, Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors (both Harrogate St Andrew’s Players), and Max and Leo in The Producers (Max with York Stage Musicals and Leo at the West Yorkshire Playhouse with LAOS).

Svetlana: Jacqueline Bell

Jacqueline began her theatre training at the age of 4 under Kim Bettany and Louise Denison.  She trained professionally at London Studio Centre, gaining an honours degree in Musical Theatre with distinction in Singing. She went on to play ‘Bunny Byron’ in a tour of Babes In Arms and worked with Anthony Van Laast in his production of Hair at the Oslo Spektrum, Norway.

Back in Yorkshire Jacqueline has played a variety of roles including Laurie (Oklahoma!), Julie (Carousel), Mary Magdalene (Jesus Christ Superstar), Dorothy (The Wizard Of Oz), Scaramouche (We Will Rock You), Reno (Anything Goes), Carmen (Fame) and Nancy (Oliver!).  Jacqueline first joined LAOS in 2003 playing Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street.

Walter de Courcey: Ben Walton

Ben first joined LAOS in 2006 for West Side Story, followed by Ragtime (2007), The Producers (2009), and most recently playing Lumiere in Beauty & the Beast (2010). Ben has been performing on the stage since the age of nine, when he appeared in Carousel at the Nottingham Playhouse. He performed in over thirty shows in that area before coming to study at Leeds University in 1995.

His involvement in theatre continued throughout his student years and beyond.  Since leaving university, favourite roles have included Curly in Oklahoma! (Ilkley AOS), Billy in Anything Goes and Reverend Shaw Moore in Footloose (both Harrogate SAP), Jerry in The Full Monty (Locked Out Productions) and Daddy Brubeck in Sweet Charity (Potato Room Players).

The Arbiter: Richard Blackburn

This is Richard’s sixth principal role with LAOS, having previously played Cornelius Hackl in Hello Dolly! (2004), Tateh in Ragtime (2007), Tobias Ragg in Sweeney Todd (2008), Franz Liebkind in The Producers (2009), and Gaston in Beauty & the Beast (2010).  Richard has performed with several societies across Yorkshire and other roles include Seymour Krelbourn (Little Shop of Horrors), Sky Masterson (Guys & Dolls), Jimmy Smith (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Franklin Sheppard (Merrily We Roll Along), and he has twice played Bobby in Company – his favourite musical.

Molokov:   Terry Ford

A classically trained Baritone, Terry has sung and acted across Yorkshire in oratorio and concerts and in a wide variety of stage roles, including: Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (for which he received the LCAG Award for Best Actor in an Acting/Singing Role), Emile de Becque in South Pacific, Alexander Molokov in Chess, Mr Bumble in Oliver!, Lt Schrank in West Side Story, Miles Gloriosus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Reverend Shaw Moore in Footloose and Caiaphas in Jesus Christ Superstar.

Anatoly:   Fraser Wilkinson

As a youngster, Fraser performed in the professional run of The Sound of Music at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, and appeared in the West End and Edinburgh Festival with the National Youth Theatre.

He first joined LAOS in 2001 for My Fair Lady. He has also appeared in a variety of theatres across the North, most notably playing the role of Tony in West Side Story in five different productions, totalling thirty-six performances! Other favourite roles include Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, Younger Brother in Ragtime, Billy Bigelow in Carousel, Kashoggi in We Will Rock You and Lt Cable in South Pacific.