Southwark Youth Theatre Blog: A Belated Happy HolidaysThe…

Southwark Youth Theatre Blog: A Belated Happy Holidays

The beginning of February is not perhaps the most conventional time to wish you a happy holiday, but I hope you will accept this belated piece of festive cheer on behalf of the Southwark Youth Theatre as we reconvene after our Christmas break.

We ended our last term on a high, with a very successful winter sharing performance in which the youth company showcased all of the skills they have gained over the last few months. 

In our first term, we focussed on the art of improvisation; a kind of acting based on the performers’ ability to say ‘yes’ to anything offered to them on stage – no matter how nerve-wracking or how ridiculous. To acquire this skill is no mean feat, but the company tackled it with gusto. 

We began the process with games like ‘MARTHA’, where the company are given a description of a scene to make a freeze frame image of, with every member striking a pose and describing what they are in the scene (which can be anything from ‘I am the king’ to ‘I am the air of grandeur’). 

After they had mastered this, the company built up to creating their own devised scenes for the sharing performance. The younger group’s scenes were based around themes from King Lear (using puppets and drums aplenty), while the older group’s were centred around different objects symbolising the themes (which brought us, amongst other things, the strange tale of the pineapple of love).

After a well-deserved round of applause we broke for Christmas, before meeting again early last month to begin preparation for our spring term sharing. This time, the company will be treating us to a scripted performance on the Globe stage, made up of short scenes from twelve Shakespeare plays and poems, all looking at the theme of ‘families’. 

Making use of some ‘greatest hits’ like Othello and Romeo and Juliet, as well as lesser-known works like Cymbeline and Sonnet 37, the company’s March Sharing promises to show Shakespeare’s families in all their dysfunctional glory – with, if we are lucky, a few happy endings thrown in.

With the parts assigned and the read-throughs completed, we can begin to knuckle down to the business of rehearsing. Add that to the theatre trips and performances we’ve got coming up this term and there won’t be a dull moment for the Southwark Youth Theatre in 2018.

Words: Dorothy McDowell