Youth Theatre - Blog by Mia Schroder
Youth Theatre – what comes to some people’s mind when they hear this is a seemingly half-finished production with kids who can barely remember their lines. If I’m honest, just under four years ago I would have thought the same thing. I can now whole-heartedly say that this is 100% WRONG.
Derby Theatre Youth Theatre started off in 2012 as a meeting with Christina Lydon and four nervous teenagers, including myself. Now, in late 2015, I look back at everything we have achieved and I want to cry with happiness, pride and excitement for the future – it is amazing. The group initially started as a huuuuuge cast with around 45 of us aged 11 to 18, and after lots of switching around we now have four smaller groups of different age categories ranging from 8 to 19 years old. I am a member of the 17-19 group, which is the only group without a long waiting list. This means you can get involved straight away!
If you’re thinking “Hmm, I’m not sure, new people, big stage, big audience, blah blah blah” I can assure you there is no need to worry. Most of us started off too shy to ask for an extra line, however now we are the ones creating the bulk of the ideas (obviously following the plan of our lovely director Emma Waslin) - even to the point where we almost involve the audience in the play, we’re that close to them. Our last production, Dreamtime, was the result of our brainstorming sessions. Someone wrote the basis of the script, which we then developed and changed according to any new thoughts during rehearsals, so it was something we created as a group which we are very proud of.
The great thing about Youth Theatre is that although we are all of a similar age, we have SO many different ideas and viewpoints that every single thing we do combines so many different elements, which we love as it means there is much more depth to our performances than people may expect. Everyone gets a say, and there’s a real sense of belonging which gives you so much pride looking at all you’ve achieved together.
It’s almost a rule that if you tell friends and family that you’re in a production, they have to ask “are you a tree? Are you a flower?” and it can get quite annoying… especially when the part you’ve been cast is, in fact, a flower. In our very first production, the majority of us were cast the parts of garden plants that came alive, so now looking at our current production possibilities we feel like we’ve climbed to the top of Everest.
Not only do we meet on Sundays on a weekly basis, but we are also invited to workshops, main stage productions, audition opportunities and of course assisting with any special events Derby Theatre might have on, such as Connections festival. Although the majority of us aren’t adults, we are treated as an equal part of the theatre – everybody knows everybody, everybody gets a chance at everything and it just opens so many doors. All members and staff are so amazing at what they do, so it’s a brilliant opportunity to showcase your talents no matter what they are – you could try directing, leading mini-activities, or even helping to plan musical or technical aspects.
You learn so much whilst having an amazing time, I honestly can’t put into words how much more confident and happy being part of Youth Theatre makes you feel. Fortunately, there are some places left so no matter if you just want to give it a go or want to pursue a career in theatre, you’ll fit right in at Derby Theatre Youth Theatre.