Festival of Young Theatre Makers celebrates fifty years of youth theatre.
This July, the Belgrade Theatre will present All Our Tomorrows, a festival of young theatre makers, to celebrate fifty years since its youth theatre programme was established.
The festival will showcase a variety of work from some of the UK’s up and coming young theatre-makers and performers, both at the Belgrade’s B2 auditorium and Shop Front Theatre. Throughout this week-long festival, pre-professional and early stage companies from Coventry and beyond will take to the stage including Gateway Youth Dance Company and Phoenix Academy NE, Keychain Theatre Company, Clown Funeral, See & Eye Theatre, Bristol Old Vic as well as performances by the Belgrade’s own Young Company and Senior Youth Theatre.
The festival sees the revival of the Belgrade Young Company production Rise, which played on the B2 stage earlier this year and features a young cast of all-female performers. Inspired by the young people’s own experiences of everyday sexism, Rise follows a group of young women as they hijack a van and embark on a road trip to see their idol Beyoncé, in concert.
Also performing as part of the festival, Gateway Youth Dance Company and Phoenix Academy NE will present Quantum Leap, which showcases four short works from its repertoire created by some of our country’s leading choreographers and directed by Martin Hylton. Emerging Coventry-based theatre company Keychain will present their modern, urban love story Shine My Nine which asks the question, how far would you go for the one you love? Keychain Theatre Company are founded by students of Coventry University, who also performed at the Belgrade earlier this year as part of New Ventures in Theatre-Making.
Surreal humour, physical theatre and original music are combined as Clown Funeral take to the stage with their production of The Murderer, based on the poem by Luke Kennard. The company, formed by Warwick University graduates, will bring this show back to Coventry following its success at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Tethered to the Light is a play created and performed by the Belgrade Senior Youth Theatre, which takes the audience through the stages of grief, while examining how technology affects our relationship with ourselves and others.
Bristol Old Vic will return to the Belgrade with Beowulf, inspired by the Anglo-saxon epic poem and using an original score and ensemble theatre to tell the story of history’s greatest hero. Completing the festival line-up is Zero for the Young Dudes, written by Alistair McDowell for the National Theatre Connections Festival and performed by See & Eye Theatre. It follows the inmates at a bizarre summer camp as they plot a revolution, and as the day wears on a violent future looms on the horizon.
Justine Themen, Associate Director of the Community & Education Company said, “At the Belgrade we offer a very broad participatory programme, open to all but targeting those communities traditionally less engaged with theatre. The All Our Tomorrows festival aims to support some of these young people to make a supported step into the profession by sharing their own work and meeting with other young emerging artists from across the UK, from the North East to the South West. We are delighted also to be hosting emerging companies from both the city’s universities working to support them to maintain their lives within the city.”
2017 marks the fifty years since the Belgrade Community & Education Company introduced its first youth theatre group. Since then the Belgrade’s Youth Theatre programme has grown into a broad-reaching which has since grown into a broad-reaching programme including five in-house youth groups and two outreach youth theatres, for ages 8 to 25.
During its history, the Belgrade’s Youth Theatre has nurtured and developed emerging young talent that has gone on to have successful careers in the theatre industry including Hollywood a-list actor Clive Owen.
All Our Tomorrows builds on the success of the Belgrade’s 2015 July Festival of theatre created by and for young people, as part of the theatre’s Inspiring Curiosity celebrations. The festival runs at the Belgrade Theatre from Tuesday 11th to Sunday 16th July. Tickets are Pay What You Can.
Front page pic – Nicola Young