The National Youth Theatre has announced an open call to young people to work with the company on a new national Inclusive Practice Collective.
Inspired by young people engaged in National Youth Theatre’s inclusion programme and its work in schools, the Inclusive Practice Collective is an urgent response offering creativity, connection and a boost to drama provision in schools for disabled young people and will provide crucial jobs for young creatives facing unemployment.
Paul Roseby OBE, CEO and Artistic Director of NYT, said: “Disabled people and all young people are most at risk of reduced opportunities post-Covid. Rising unemployment figures emphasise the urgent need for a social and cultural recovery that prioritises creative jobs, ensures accessible and inclusive opportunities and celebrates the diversity of British youth in all its forms and that’s exactly what our new Inclusive Practice Collective is designed to do.”
The collective is enabled by the Government’s Kickstart Scheme and in its first year will create a programme of regular NYT opportunities for young disabled people in fifteen schools and colleges around the country and sixty job placements for young people on Universal Credit.
Formal recruitment now begun with a pro-active search working with community partners, job centres and referral agencies including the local authority and youth employment programme in NYT’s home borough of Islington. All young people interested in joining the Inclusive Practice Collective are encouraged to apply at https://form.jotformeu.com/210334970893359.
NYT will particularly welcome applications from those people whose identities are currently under-represented in the performing arts and have made a positive commitment to employing d/Deaf and disabled people and guarantee to interview all d/Deaf and disabled candidates who meet the minimum essential criteria for the role.
Specialist schools, colleges and cultural community partners rooted in their local communities that have expressed an interest in partnering on the scheme, which aims to build a national community of SEND* schools with a focus on creativity and the arts are being processed now.
(*specialist schools and colleges which support young people who may be disabled, neurodiverse and/or have long-term medical or mental health conditions.)
The Inclusive Practice Collective will create sixty paid job placements for young inclusion facilitators aged 18-24; facilitate two academic terms of regular inclusive theatre activity for disabled young people in fifteen SEND Schools and Colleges initially in Greater Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, West Yorkshire and London; up-skill and support young inclusion facilitators with industry-led talent development; work with cultural partners rooted in their communities to connect the collective to existing programmes and future employment opportunities; stage a digital festival for the collective celebrating inclusive theatre practice in schools and colleges and offer progression routes for young disabled people into the NYT membership, in addition to other local cultural opportunities.
In the first year of the Inclusive Practice Collective job placements will last six months with cohorts starting in August & December 2021. Activity will be delivered in partner schools between September 2021 and May 2022.
The creation of the new Inclusion Facilitator roles is inspired by NYT’s young members’ commitment to inclusion, who have been working with the company on this programme and want to develop careers in Inclusive Practice. NYT wants to respond to the impact of the pandemic on employment prospects for young creative people by empowering a new generation of paid inclusive practice practitioners. Through an inclusive digital festival celebrating the work of the collective, NYT hopes to form national connections between schools and colleges, engage with like-minded cultural partners around the country, to join up with existing provision and signpost the collective to future employment opportunities.
The collective marks the national expansion of NYT’s growing Inclusive Practice programme which is designed to build the representation of young disabled talent within its membership and reduce barriers to accessing its opportunities.
The collective, informed by SEND schools, will offer creativity, connectivity and opportunities for young disabled people within school environments.
Inclusive Practice is essential to NYT work, making sure that the company is always a welcoming and accessible place for disabled and neurodiverse young people. As part of this commitment NYT is a Cultural Inclusion Manifesto supporter, and runs a programme of targeted work which has recently included successful partnerships for three years with London schools Highshore and Samuel Rhodes in Islington; inclusion training for NYT staff, associate artists and inclusion ambassadors; the introduction of relaxed performances & auditions; commissions foregrounding disabled narratives and performers and successful creative collaborations with inclusive sector leaders Diverse City, Extraordinary Bodies and Touretteshero.
The company is completing a major transformation of its HQ in the London Borough of Islington into a National Production House, which has been designed in consultation with Access=Design and disabled NYT members to prioritise accessibility and includes a Changing Places facility. Young disabled voices are represented strongly amongst NYT’s Youth Trustees and Centre Stage Creatives based around the UK.
The Stage has announced it will host a three-day, Future of Theatre conference from 16 – 18 June.
The conference will be the first of its kind to bring together voices from across the whole UK theatre sector as the performing arts prepares to return post-pandemic.
Alistair Smith, Editor of The Stage, said: “This has been an extraordinarily difficult year for theatre. It will have changed the performing arts dramatically, permanently and possibly in ways none of us realise yet.
“As an independent voice for the whole of the performing arts in the UK, The Stage is in the unique position of being able to bring together theatremakers of all different types from across the industry to discuss what the future of the sector could and should be. This is a vital conversation and a pivotal time for those of us who hope to help theatre bounce back even better than before.”
While the past year has presented theatre with new challenges as well as highlighting existing problems facing the industry, theatremakers across the country have also used the closure of theatres to find new ways to create, play with digital formats and increase focus on the communities they serve. The Future of Theatre conference will:
- Bring the wider industry together to share in a conversation and reflect on what works well, what could be better and the practical ways theatremakers and organisations can move towards a more successful, creative and resilient future.
- Provide leaders with a platform to share their thoughts on subjects including: ticket pricing, financing shows, running buildings, maintaining and developing the workforce and reaching new audiences and communities.
- Challenge why the theatre operates the way it does and initiate discussions about what the future of the industry could and should look like, and what practical steps theatremakers can take to make that change happen.
- Showcase the latest innovations, best practice and how theatremakers are continuing to thrive, despite the huge challenges they face.
- Inspire theatremakers and offer practical tips that can be translated and implemented into their own work.
Over the three days, ticket holders will hear from a diverse range of theatre experts including well-known names but also those who wouldn’t normally be in the spotlight. The conversations will address onstage and offstage topics across commercial, subsidised and not-for-profit theatre.
Five topics will form the framework for the conference line up: Community and Audience, Shows and Artistic Practice, Money and Finance, The Built Environment and The Workforce. There will also be opportunities for attendees to engage in conversation and gain access to key industry leaders, innovators & suppliers.
To initiate key conversations about the future of theatre, The Stage is hosting a series of digital panel discussions in the weeks leading up to the conference. Each discussion will be chaired by a senior journalist and will feature three panelists drawn from across the performing arts sector. These online discussions will be free for The Stage subscribers to access.
The series begins with: What have we learned about audiences over the past year? …chaired by Alistair Smith and joined by David Brownlee, (Purple Seven), Ben Park (Spektrix) and Caroline Routh (Stephen Joseph Theatre).
Above: A montage of the concert performances including compère and company patron, Nigel Harman (above centre). Photo: Ariel Company Theatre
Ariel Company Theatre raises over £1,600 in online charity concert compèred by Nigel Harman
The online concert was streamed in February via Ariel’s Facebook page all in aid of raising money for the company’s chosen charity ‘The Kangaroos’.
Ariel Company Theatre has been producing shows in Sussex for nearly thirty years, through its Drama Academies, with venues in Burgess Hill, Crawley, East Grinstead, Haywards Heath, Horsham and Shoreham (celebrating their fifteenth anniversary this year).
The event included performances from Ariel’s principals, tutors, actors and past students, who all recorded their performances remotely under the theme of ‘Parts We’ll Never Play.’ Ariel’s patron, star of stage & screen, Nigel Harman, compèred the event.
Ariel’s Artistic Director & founder, Nicci Hopson, told Sardines: “We are overwhelmed with the amount of money raised for our chosen charity. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, our usual fundraising activities haven’t been able to take place so we wanted to do something for this amazing organisation. I’m proud of our Ariel community for embracing this concert and raising such a huge amount that which will make such a difference.”
The total raised stands at £1,628, with the concert taking an incredible 5,500 views in two days.
The Kangaroos, a disability charity based in Mid Sussex, provides a range of fun, inclusive social and leisure activities for children and young adults with learning disabilities and additional needs. Ariel is closely connected with Kangaroos as several of their students from their thriving special and additional needs groups, The Othellos, attend.
Ariel Company Theatre is already making plans for further events. “Nothing beats the experience of live theatre, but for the moment, this is the next best thing. Bringing joy and moments of escapism into people’s lives is what Ariel do best so it’s been very special for us to create this event and raise money for The Kangaroos all at the same time,” said Beth Gavin, Ariel’s Business Manager.
To view the event, visit Arial’s Faceook page: arielcompanytheatre and voluntary donations can be made at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/arielcompanytheatrecharityconcert.
If you’d like to find out more about Ariel’s Drama Academies, Costume and Theatre Equipment hire, please contact www.arielct.com or call 01444 250407.
West End Stage, the ultimate week-long theatre summer school for 8 – 21 year olds, is delighted to reopen its doors in time to celebrate the 15th anniversary this year, following last year’s postponement due to Covid regulations.
Based in the heart of London, West End Stage brings together young people from far and wide through their shared love of performing.
All tutors are West End performers who lead an exciting mix of drama, singing and dance classes, grouped according to age and ability. Young performers are challenged, supported and encouraged, with the highlight of the week being their very own West End debut.
There are also masterclasses with industry professionals teaching skills such as stage combat, makeup and acting for television. Students also head into London’s West End’s bright lights as they enjoy one of its exciting productions, followed by a cast Q&A. Students build confidence, learn new skills, make friends for life and have fun!
Course Principle, Mark Puddle, told us: “Following the Government’s announcement that all restrictions are due to be lifted by the end of June, we are delighted to confirm that West End Stage will be back, bigger and better than ever this summer. As a thank you to everyone who booked a place on the summer school before 31 March, will be provided with a full day of FREE online musical theatre masterclasses this Easter!
“Since the company was founded, over 14,000 students, aged 8-21, have attended our summer schools. Through-out the pandemic, we are proud to say West End Stage managed to remain partially open continuing to provide student experiences, engaging content and over 40 free masterclasses via online platforms and virtual rehearsal rooms. But there is nothing like the excitement of the first day of one of our summer schools and I can’t wait to hear the buzz of our students and welcome back our brilliant team of over 60 freelance artists, tutors and chaperones.”
West End Stage will take place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, one of the world’s top drama schools with state-of-the-art studios, theatres and concert halls. The one-week summer school runs from 9-15, 16-22 and 23-29 August 2021, with the added option for students to book chaperoned accommodation.
All necessary Covid precautions and government guidelines will be in place to ensure that activities are as safe as possible. If government measures force the cancellation of the summer school, bookers will have the option to transfer their place to August 2022 or receive a refund.
For more information about West End Stage, or to book, simply visit:
Children’s performing arts school franchise celebrates the achievements of schools in Swansea, Bridgend, Cowbridge, Cardiff, Caerphilly, Pontypridd, Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare
Wales… famous for its rugged coastline, mountainous National Parks and homegrown singing talent. From Tom Jones to Shirley Bassey, many British icons of stage and screen have hailed from Wales.
Children’s services franchise, Stagecoach Performing Arts operates weekly singing, dancing and acting sessions in Swansea, Bridgend, Cowbridge, Cardiff, Caerphilly, Pontypridd, Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare.
On 1 March, St. David’s Day, many of the Welsh schools made a big effort to mark the country’s patron saint which, in turn, has prompted us to focus on the post-lockdown plans for the valleys. Whilst nurturing the musical talent of tomorrow, Welsh franchisees are building their own community and have big plans for growth in 2021 and beyond.
Former Project Manager for the United Dance Organisation, Kate Davies, took over as franchisee and Principal of Stagecoach Performing Arts in Cardiff back in December 2019. Born and bred in the area, Kate always knew she wanted to put her experience to good use by owning a franchise that was close to home.
“I’ve been a real champion of Stagecoach across South Wales since my early twenties, having taught at or managed schools in Merthyr Tydfil, Pontypridd, Caerphilly and even Cardiff,” explained Kate.
“Now, aged 37 and with a daughter of my own, I’m more passionate than ever about inspiring the next generation of Welsh performers and equipping my students with opportunities I would have loved at their age. As well as being contacted by The Voice, about our students auditioning, early last year, children have taken part in West End style workshops and performed at theatres around the country. My singing teacher, Siwan Henderson, has also performed in the West End and is part of the ‘Welsh of the West End’ group – she’s a real inspiration to the students. Wales is a hub of incredible vocal talent and I’m very excited to see where my students go in the future.
“There’s a real demand for quality performing arts sessions for kids in Cardiff so my plan is, once the lockdown is lifted, to eventually open more schools within my area and bring a manager in to run them. It’s not just the incredible standard of talent in my students that impresses me but my teachers too. As well as nurturing our students to have confidence in their own abilities, they shadow me in a bid to understand the inner workings of operating a Stagecoach franchise. With their support, and the support of the other Welsh franchisees – who I’ve built a fantastic relationship with – we’re really affirming our value as part of the international network.”
A little over 25 miles away, in the busy town of Merthyr Tydfil, is franchisee and Principal Heidi Rees. Like Kate, Heidi took on an existing business, signing her franchise agreement in October 2018. Heidi and Kate, who had worked together for years before both joining Stagecoach, regularly collaborate on projects and look to each other for ongoing support.
“I own schools in Caerphilly, Pontypridd, Merthyr Tydfil and, since late last year, Aberdare,” said Heidi. “I’m so proud of all of my locations and students but my Aberdare school holds a very special place in my heart, having grown up in the small town and discovering my passion for performance there. Back in the nineties, there was nothing like Stagecoach in Aberdare and, although I had a great time at a nearby community performing arts school, it just didn’t offer the opportunities I would have had with Stagecoach.
“I’ve travelled the world working as a teacher with Stagecoach, whilst also working as a professional actress in places like Disneyland Paris, but there’s been nothing quite like coming home to Aberdare and starting my own school. I’ve even been able to offer my students the incredible opportunities I craved as a child, including workshops with West End performers and a group trip to perform at my old stomping ground, Disneyland, in 2022.
“With the support of local franchisees, like Kate, we’ve built our own community within a community. We’re really flying the flag for Stagecoach across the Welsh Valleys and St David’s Day is the perfect day to celebrate our success!”
Andy Knights, COO, is proud to champion the accomplishments of the brand’s Welsh franchisees. “Kate, Heidi and the rest of our franchisees across Wales are a force to be reckoned with. Over the course of the last twelve months, in particular, I’ve seen them rally together and work collectively to maintain our standing as the country’s most trusted provider of children’s performing arts sessions. Here’s to more growth and success in 2021, and the next Tom Jones or Shirley Bassey coming from Stagecoach!”
A children’s theatre franchise is supporting students as reports on the pandemic’s effects on kids’ mental health emerge.
By Karen Keeman
As lockdown is gently lifted, schools return and we all get back into some sort of routine, the effects of the pandemic and parents’ worries are starting to be revealed.
A Loose Women investigation has found that 55% of parents fear that the global Coronavirus pandemic will have a long-term effect on their children’s mental health.
The Covid Kids: The State of Our Children’s Wellbeing survey also found that 46% of parents agree that their children’s mental health has suffered for the first time ever as a result of the pandemic. (OnePoll surveyed 1,000 parents with children aged 4-16.)
As a national franchise, Razzamataz Theatre Schools works with thousands of children from the ages of two to eighteen across the UK. Throughout the various lockdowns, the schools have continued to reach out to children and parents through small, live classes, online social activities and special workshops with coaches to support wellbeing and mental health.
“It is no surprise to us that parents have concerns over their children’s wellbeing,” says Denise Hutton-Gosney, MD and Founder of Razzamataz. “Lack of structure, limited chance to exercise and increased screen time can all have a detrimental effect on children’s mental health. However, as a theatre school network, this is something we are very aware of and we have put a lot of thought, time and effort into building back resilience, which first and foremost includes making sure the students are having fun.”
Razzamataz Theatre Schools is set to once again open its doors to students from April and are following all Government advice and taking extra precautions in terms of health and safety to keep students, families and the wider communities safe. While the engagement in the online lessons and masterclasses, including a session with Strictly champion Oti Mabuse, has been extremely high, nothing can beat getting kids back into the classrooms.
“We are now focussing on the future for our students and looking at ways we can help them achieve their dreams, whatever they may be,” adds Denise. “Not being in school has led to a loss in confidence for many and for older students, this can have a worrying impact on their future life decisions.”
Performing arts has so many benefits for children and young people; teaching them life skills, improved communication and ways in which they can express themselves. “Over the last year, students have missed out on the usual opportunities that the classroom provides,” adds Denise. “Reading aloud, presenting ideas in front of the class and expressing opinions are all things that have taken a back seat while schools have been closed. We know that performing arts can give young people the confidence to articulate their ideas and we can’t wait to start working with them to help in these areas.”
For young people that dream of a life as a professional performer, Razzamataz is once again offering to support them with financial assistance through the theatre school’s very own charity, the Future Fund.
“We want to give young people something to aim for and be excited about again,” adds Denise. “Our students have shown such resilience by continuing with their training from home and working really hard to maintain their fitness. We are delighted to once again be gearing up to hold our Future Fund auditions in the summer. Every year we have a panel of industry professionals from the stage and screen, and this year is no exception. We want young people to believe in themselves again and we will do all we can to help make this happen.”
The winners of the Future Fund scholarships will receive financial grants from money raised by the entire Razzamataz network through fundraising activities. This will be used to go towards their further education in the arts.
The Jack Petchey Foundation has published its ‘School Catch-Up Report’. Read the full report and other news items at: www.jackpetcheyfoundation.org.uk
Bryan Raven, Managing Director of White Light brings us up to date with all the goings on inside the lighting industry… and the effects of Covid-19.
White Light’s MD hasn’t sent out a message in a while so this seems as good a good time as any to bring you an update.
Bryan Raven: …Not only to give you an update about WL and the industry in general but we also thought you might want to read something that wasn’t about the Royal Family… And speaking of high-profile TV interviews, thanks to everyone who sent across their lovely messages about the company’s recent appearance on ITV News (see above). I seem to have popped up on people’s televisions quite a few times over the past few months; although I won’t be applying to become the new co-host of Good Morning Britain just yet…
I hope you’re all managing to keep well and safe. It feels like we are once again in that period of limbo where we have been given a ‘reopen’ date and so are making tentative preparations whilst simultaneously hoping the goalposts aren’t moved once more. In terms of the recent Chancellor’s budget, both the extension of Furlough and SEISS is very much welcomed yet we also need to be honest and say that a vast number of businesses and individuals in the live event supply chain, particularly our brilliant freelancers, still remain excluded from certain support schemes. This is why I am still very much involved with the vital #WeMakeEvents campaign and why we cannot stop the fight, regardless of how close we may or may not be to things getting back to normal.
In regards to when this return to normal will take place, we’re hearing that many West End venues will reopen in May, albeit with social distancing in place. There are also several UK tours that have been announced for later this year and even several festivals planning to go ahead. Across the pond, Broadway is now reopening, which has been closed even longer than the theatres over here. So all in all, it seems as if we are heading in the right direction. That said, for now, I will keep the champagne on ice; if the last year or so has taught me anything, it’s that it’s best to remain a cautious optimist.
As always, please visit our website for a series of updates from us as well as wider industry news. And if you have any upcoming projects of your own or just want to speak to one of the team, then you know where we are.
More at: www.whitelight.ltd.uk
Streaming solution to help schools, amateur dramatic societies and community groups get back on stage.
stream.theatre is making its streaming technology available for schools, amateur dramatic societies, community theatre and more via its new tool – ShowShare.
ShowShare is a new initiative that allows organisations to stream their productions with a dedicated team to help at every step of the way, ShowShare promises secure, straight-forward and affordable streaming.
In addition it takes care of everything behind the scenes and provides resources to help those new to streaming, leaving creators free to focus on their shows.
ShowShare is already the approved streaming provider for The Really Useful Group, MTI Europe, Concord Theatricals, Broadway Licensing and PlayScripts – which means that a huge array of popular titles are now available to license for streaming.
For the first time, thanks to the Really Useful Group, schools will be able to stream their productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats and more.
From Zoom productions through to live theatre shows with audiences, ShowShare allows organisations to reach digital onlookers safely, securely and easily.
Productions can be live-streamed or pre-recorded, scheduled or on-demand. They can be filmed using a smartphone or professional capture team; “ShowShare makes streaming possible for everybody.”
It allows organisations to connect with their audiences again – whether that be family members who cannot travel to see a school performance, or theatre fans who miss their local amateur society’s shows.
For more information and to start streaming, organisations should visit www.showshare.co.uk
Photos: John Wildgoose
SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE IS PREPARING TO RE-OPEN ITS DOORS FOR STEP 2 OF THE GOVERNMENT’S ROADMAP
As with other venues around the country, Shakespeare’s Globe is preparing to open again.
Provided the conditions are met for Step 2 of the Government’s roadmap for cultural reopening the Globe’s guided tour of the theatre will return from 13 April and include welcoming schools back onsite with tours and workshops.
The open-air theatre is preparing exciting plans for full reopening in preparation for Step 3 of the roadmap.
Last summer, the site was open to the public for a new guided tour of the theatre, with over 3,600 visitors invited up onto the stage for the very first time. The tours are appropriate for all ages and run in a Covid-secure environment. Swan at the Globe, the Globe’s on-site bar and restaurant will be open for outdoor dining from 12 April. They will be offering mid-morning coffees and snacks, and a new springtime menu, with daily specials and a carefully curated drinks list.
Additionally, the Globe’s online offerings continue apace, including entertainment, a higher educational programme and educational and research activities such as: Shakespeare Boost – a new series of online workshops for GCSE and A-level students, ‘Globe 4 Globe’ – an online symposium exploring Shakespeare and the Climate Crisis, Continued Professional Development courses for teachers, Acting Short Courses for young people, Telling Tales workshops and storytellings for families, the return of Emilia to your screens and performances from Juliet Stevenson and Nitin Sawhney.
Visitors to Guided Tours will discover Shakespeare in the iconic theatre for which he wrote, the history of London and the story of the Globe itself. An award-winning experience for the young and the young at heart, the tour normally welcomes over 350,000 visitors a year. Tours will be running every day during the Easter holiday (with 7 tours a day), following that at weekends until the theatre is fully reopen for other activities. Tickets must be pre-booked online for time-slots to allow for social distancing. The tours happen outside, and precautions due to Covid-19 include hand-sanitising stations, deep cleaning of toilets, face shields for the Globe Guides, and systems to ensure social distancing. The open-air theatre is following all recommended safety measures amending normal operation of the tours to fit with all Covid-19 restrictions.
Audiences can also engage with the plethora of online activities:
- Ever-popular live Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions for primary and secondary teachers and ‘Teaching Anti-Racist Shakespeare’.
- From Easter, Online Short Courses for Young Actors and Young Academics will also begin, with a variety of courses from 6-16 April aimed at those aged between 8-19 years.
- Telling Tales for families continues over Easter with a selection of storytellings and workshops for children and teenagers connecting from home. Families can stream for free the 2019 production of Romeo and Juliet via until 31 March and the Globe’s 2020 production of Macbeth until 23 July.