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Innovation at York Theatre Royal

Education projects run by venues and theatre companies tend, dare I say it, to be a wee bit samey. Not that there’s anything remotely wrong with bringing in a company of young enthusiasts and getting them to devise a piece of original theatre inspired by the professional in-house show with actor-run workshops and so on. It’s good, worthwhile, valuable stuff. It’s just that there a lot of it about because this is a field in which it’s quite difficult to be original.

So three cheers for York Theatre Royal which has come up with a scheme the like of which I haven’t come across before (although I’d love to hear about it if anyone else is doing something similar). For three weeks in late September/ early October YTR is to be taken over and run by young volunteers all aged under 26. They will assume the roles of Department Heads: producing and directing their own work, making decisions about Front of House management and even determining what food will be served in the cafe bar.

It sounds like the work experience opportunity of a lifetime. If you are under 26 and interested you can get an application from General Manager Vicky Biles: vickyb@yorktheatreroyal.co.uk. But don’t dilly dally. YTR is already open for applications and I bet they’ll be snowed under.

Meanwhile it occurs to me that although there will, of course, be costs, this scheme cannot be particularly expensive to run. So why don’t more performing arts organisations consider doing something along these lines? It ticks all the education and community boxes.

I also wonder how many people out there now working professionally in the performance industries found voluntary work experience a useful stepping stone to becoming established? Your stories, please!

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