Plays for Today – 2nd blog post

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Tonight will see the latest productions to come through Live Theatre’s devising project: Plays for Today with Live’s Youth Theatre. With the support of directors and writers: Ben Ayrton, Neil Armstrong and Jackie Fielding, the young people have learnt skills not only in devising but also enhancing their performance skills.

The forty young people recruited into Plays for Today were split into three groups last Monday, each lead by a different project worker with their own style and given different stimulus material.

Neil Armstrong’s team are taking on “Every day I wake up and something’s different”, the piece will follow a crime writer as he dreams of creating something new with a helping hand from the devil. The young people in his group started by generating ideas which they then improvised with and this in turn formed the script. Ben Marshall, 14 commends this style: “It helped because thinking on the spot wasn’t my strongest point.” When I left them to get back to rehearsals they were picking up with someone dragging a dead body across the stage with a frozen baguette wedged in his mouth, you’ll have to get yourself a ticket to find out what that’s all about.

Things were a lot more intense over with Ben Ayrton’s group of young people who are taking on the roles of clowns, each with their own deep secret and each of them embarking on their final performances. Ayrton asked them to think of the last thing their character would ever say to the world and was met with a combination of simple, profound and complex tales. Ayrton spoke highly of the young people he’s been supporting over the last week, his favourite part being “the moments where breakthroughs are made, a light bulb comes on. This is an extraordinary part of someone’s life.” Saranne Bulman, 14 used to be really shy before joining Live’s Youth Theatre however has since grown in confidence, this year she will be playing a clown whose last words would be “just through that door I will be free”. Ayrton’s group have worked with a choreographer to ensure the clowns’ movements are perfected to a tee.

Finally, I caught up with Jackie Fielding who has been working on youth theatre projects with Live Theatre for many a year now. This year’s Festival sees her group of young people turn worlds upside down looking at the idea of people having the ability to control each other’s worlds. Working on the Festival before has taught Fielding that it “all depends on the stimulus. Do not go in with an idea, it’s not about me, it’s about them.” Next for her group is putting all of the pieces back together and seeing where it takes them. Lewis Densley, 13 who has previously done lots of work with Live Theatre and encourages other young people to do the same, “it’s a really good opportunity to make plays and learn skills of how to be a better actor.”

To get tickets to see four evening of shows by the talented people of Live’s Youth Theatre, visit the website www.live.org.uk. Oh, and don’t forget to stick around after Plays for Today for the post show chat!

By Hannah Morpeth #LYTFest14 reviewer

To celebrate Right Here, Right Now, our fifteen annual Youth Theatre Festival, we have asked three young bloggers to follow the festival and report from the rehearsal rooms. For this year’s festival, Live’s Youth Theatre are creating four evenings of entertainment around the theme of current affairs.  The festival runs from Thursday 7 to Sunday 10 August.

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