AFTER helping to establish an all-female theatre company, a Bolton actress is taking to the fringe festival stage.

The Greater Manchester Fringe Festival is set to take over 23 different venues with hundreds of performers and new works on show.

Among them is a female theatre company formed by three friends making its debut at the July event.

BAPS Theatre Company has been set up by actresses Louise Wilson, from Heaton, Sophie Ellicott, from Failsworth, and Sophie Toland, from Holmes Chapel in Cheshire.

The trio met on a project at Manchester Shakespeare Company in late 2014 and will debut their first production, Di and Viv and Rose written by actress Amelia Bullmore, known for appearances in Coronation Street, Ashes to Ashes, Sherlock, Scott & Bailey and Happy Valley, at Manchester's Joshua Brooks.

Louise, who will play Viv in the production, is a former pupil of Lever Edge Lane Primary School, Hayward School, and Bolton South Sixth Form College.

After gaining a degree in Theatre and Film studies at the Bolton Institute, now the University of Bolton, she has appeared in television series including Hollyoaks, Between the Lines, From There to Here and Fresh Meat, as well as performing at Bolton's Octagon Theatre

On setting up BAPS, which stands for Building Art, Promoting Solidarity, Louise said: "It didn’t take us long to realise we all shared a similar level of passion, energy and ambition regarding our careers.

"We discovered Amelia Bullmore’s play after seeking an all-female three-hander and immediately fell in love with ‘Di and Viv and Rose’, and after a unanimous agreement on casting, it just seemed to make sense for this to be our first production.

"Our aim is to produce thought-provoking theatre, led by a strong female-run team. However, we would like to embrace as much local talent as we can so we’d love to be as inclusive as possible with future ventures."

Set in 1980s and 1990s Manchester, the story follows the three friends from when they meet at university and are prepared to deal head-on with

everything life throws at them, to gradually realising that ‘growing up’ is more of a challenge.

Sophie Toland, who plays Di, studied for her degree in Hull, followed by the Birmingham School of Acting, before returning the North-West after her studies.

Sophie Ellicott, who plays Rose, studied at Academy of Live andRecorded Arts (ALRA) South in Wandsworth.

Despite being a female-led company the trio say they are not excluding men in the future and chose a production which "was cheeky and celebrated women but did not ostracise men in any way".

Louise added: "Our ambition as a company is to work towards consistently producing professional theatre in some of Manchester’s key theatre venues such as Bolton Octagon, the Lowry and the Royal Exchange.

"We’re all very excited that our first production will also be our debut at the Greater Manchester Fringe, especially with us all hailing from in and around Manchester.

"Of course, there are the nerves that are bound to come with any new venture – we all want the performances to run smoothly and for the company to be successful – but at the same time we’re confident that we’re making the right decisions and that we’ve chosen the right piece."

Di and Viv and Rose will be performed at Joshua Brooks, Princess Street, on July 20-23.

For tickets visit