There’s a nice new training opportunity for the young people of Yorkshire coming up in September.
It’s a new youth theatre project starting at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. The idea is to offer young people aged from 10 - 19 the chance to develop on-stage and backstage skills from acting to lighting design and from scriptwriting to stage management.
Participants will learn what goes into creating a professional theatre production from scratch. Work will be showcased throughout the year responding to in-house projects such as Transform and creative festivals in Leeds such as Light Night. The plan is also to develop one full, main stage production as an end of year youth theatre activity.
WYP is one of the UK’s largest producing theatres and this project, developed over the past year, will launch alongside its autumn/winter season. The Playhouse already runs a number of creative youth ventures in Leeds and beyond. The idea now is to complement existing work. Initially the Youth Theatre is to run as a year long pilot, giving the young people involved the chance to “feed back” and be directly involved in the future planning and further development of WYP’s Playhouse’s Youth Theatre.
As The Stage reported earlier this year, James Brining is WYP’s incoming Artistic Director. He has been involved in the final weeks of the development of this project and seems pretty excited about it:
“The benefits that participating in youth theatre can bring to young people include a richer engagement with theatre, a growth in confidence, a greater sense of identity, and a really fun and sociable way of engaging creatively with the world around them.
“I also believe that the Playhouse will benefit from the energy that a youth theatre will bring to the building, affording us the opportunity to forge long lasting relationships with both participants and their families as they develop an affinity with, and sense of ownership of, the Playhouse.”
WYP’s Arts Development team has, I gather, been creating work for and with young people since the theatre opened in 1990. Projects for schools, community groups and young people with learning disabilities have been developed alongside professional productions created specifically to be toured into schools. These include The Worm Collector, Spark, The Dandy Lion Club and Story Makers. In 2009 the Playhouse opened First Floor, a designated young people’s creative space in Leeds city centre.
Further details about the Youth Theatre and how to apply will be released by WYP in the autumn.