An actress and writer from Dorset will be starring in her debut play at a prestigious art centre in London.

Anna Cleden, 21, will be performing her play, Hey Kid, Hey Goat!, at London’s Riverside Studios as part of its annual Bitesize Festival, offering theatre creatives a chance to showcase their new work.

The studios have played host to many iconic television programmes including Doctor Who, Top of the Pops as well as performances and concerts from notable creative talent such as Samuel Beckett, David Bowie, Benjamin Zephaniah, Amy Winehouse, Yoko Ono, Lenny Henry, Michael Clark.

Anna said she is excited about getting to perform her play at the festival and hopes her audience will be able to connect to its universal themes of forgiveness, self-discovery and holding onto past grievances.

“It’s incredible to be a part of this festival. There’s something for everyone, it’s so inclusive which is important in this day and age and in this industry especially, it’s an important factor.

 “We all go through tough times and have experiences with different people. We go through life not agreeing with people, losing connections, and we try to work out why that happened. Most people go through this experience once in their lives, so I hope it speaks to everyone if not the majority as it’s a story about basically figuring out what life is.”

Dorset Echo:

Anna was originally from Litton Cheney and moved to Dorchester when she was 13 years old. She studied at the Thomas Hardye School and initially had a strong inclination towards sports. In her later years of study, she grew to love English as a subject thanks to inspiring teacher Mrs Russell.

“I loved the subject, and it was always something I was interested in, but it was under the surface. I loved film and TV - it was a huge passion of mine, but I never had a passion to pursue it originally.”

Feeling uninspired with her sports course at university, she moved back home and eventually decided to pursue a writing career in London.

Anna found herself equally passionate about acting after securing a role in the play Blue Stockings at Lantern Arts Centre.

“Getting my first acting gig made me realise I love acting as well but I equally enjoy writing stories. Coming up with new ideas is an awesome experience and way to live. Both are very much what I want to pursue.”

Despite feeling inspired by the thriving creative space in London, she still feels a strong affinity to her Dorset roots.

“London is fantastic. It’s so busy with everything and theatre is a huge part of London but there’s definitely a part of me that misses Dorset.

“I miss the beauty of countryside and it’s so peaceful there. My parents still live there so it’s lovely to go back for a holiday. I think you understand how beautiful it is and appreciate it more.”