From Burnley Youth Theatre member to drama company director starring in vibrant new show

Once a youngster cutting her teeth in youth theatre shows, this former Burnley woman has blossomed into a professional performer who runs her own drama company.

Kailey McGowan is starring in Small Histories by Mark Murphy at Burnley Youth Theatre.
Kailey McGowan is starring in Small Histories by Mark Murphy at Burnley Youth Theatre.

Kailey McGowan will make her return to Burnley Youth Theatre next month where she honed her craft as a youngster before graduating from a top drama school and landing professional gigs.

The Salford-based actress, who attended the Manchester School of Theatre, will perform in Mark Murphy’s Small Histories, a vibrant play that explores love and loss and bursts with joy and sorrow.

Kailey said: "My journey really began at BYT, and now I’ve been and done my professional actor training I am going to love coming home and sharing that with my town.

The cast of Small Histories, which is directed byKerry Kawai and presented by Out of Kilter Theatre Company.

"I’m really excited to get back on to a familiar stage, and I can’t wait for the women in the cast to share that with me also.

"I hope we get a fantastic turnout and people really utilise the chance to see a professional show on their doorstep.

"We’re so lucky to be funded by the arts council and this has meant we have been able to keep ticket prices extremely low to make it accessible to all."

Since leaving Burnley Youth Theatre, Kailey has been commissioned by Lancashire County Council three times and also fulfilled her dream of creating her own drama company.


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She launched Something Good Theatre earlier this year with the aim of shattering stigmas and transforming the bad, the rotten and the ugly into something good.

Kailey also wrote and will star in It’s Probably Thrush later this summer, a tale that shines a light on endometriosis while examining modern relationships and mental health.

But first up is her role in Small Histories, which is directed by Kerry Kawai and presented by Out of Kilter Theatre Company. This entertaining story tracks the lives of six generations of women and takes audiences on an emotional journey over 100 years, from the final months of World War One to the present day.

"We often don’t always know who our great great grandma was, but we get told we act or speak like them," Kailey said.


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"The women who have gone before us in our family have probably endured great trials and tribulations but we never hear about them.

"I am playing Jessica, who is the most modern woman of the Aspinall family, (she’s 21 in the play). She finds a box of things with her mum while clearing the house after her grandma has passed away.

"She finds old trinkets and items that don’t really mean much to anyone else but are so important to the people who kept them for so long.

"As she searches through memories, the women in her family come alive, and we see the journey of the generations from 1880-2019.


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"Playing her is so wonderful because I get to explore all of the family history and what has gone before, what’s changed, and what always stays the same.

"It’s a beautiful play that intertwines music, physical theatre and strong naturalistic scenes to show a brief glimpse into one family’s 'Small Histories’, uncovering mental health, women’s roles in the family and the evolution of this over time. It really makes you reflect on your own Small Histories and wonder who came before you."

The play will be staged on Friday, July 5th, starting at 7-30pm. Out of Kilter is also looking at hosting a Q&A session after the show for anyone interested in applying to drama school or finding professional work.

Tickets cost £5 and can be booked by visiting


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To follow the company social media, search for outofkiltermcr on Twitter and outof_kilter on Instagram.