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New Theatre Connections for Young People in Blackpool

Grand Theatre

Blackpool’s Grand Theatre launched its new programme of plays, comedy and family entertainment in their Studio Space on Friday 25 September. One of the programmes that will be occupying this space over the next few months is a new youth theatre for 14-19 year olds. This is not just any youth theatre though, Blackpool Grand Theatre have been accepted to be a part of Connections 500.

Connections is the National Theatre’s nationwide youth theatre festival. Each year it offers a unique opportunity for youth theatres to stage new plays written for young people by some of theatre’s most exciting playwrights. In 2016 the National Theatre will mark 21 years of connections by having 500 young companies all taking part in theatres across the UK.

Young people from Blackpool are invited to take part in weekly sessions on Wednesday evenings 6-9pm in The Studio, to build a piece of theatre. The group will be using ensemble techniques which is where the group work together as a whole to produce the piece and will ensure that everybody who wants to be a part of this new company can bring their strengths into the mix. Those who are interested in other areas of theatre rather than acting are also encouraged to join in as the organisers want to encourage the whole theatre-making process.

All sessions are free but to be a part of Blackpool Grand Theatre Connections Company, you must commit to the full programme. The new young company will come together during October half-term for the first time to start working on the play they’ve chosen. Performances will take place in The Studio on February 2016 and then at their regional partner venue, with a small chance that the young people could go on to perform at one of the National Theatre’s prestigious stages in London.

To find out whether this is something you’d like to be involved in, there are taster sessions taking place on Wednesdays 7 October, 14 October and 21 October all at 6.30-8.30pm. (This will be the same workshop repeated so participants only need attend one). If aged under-16, parents will need to complete a consent form beforehand. The young company will have a maximum of 30 members, and in the event that they have more applicants, the organisers will use attendance and team-working approach at a Taster Session to decide who is offered a place.

The company is being directed by Melanie Whitehead who has 20-years experience of working on large and small-scale theatre projects with and for young people. It is supported by Jo Cassidy who is a trained actor and teacher from Blackpool.

Anybody who is interested in attending should call the Box Office on 01253 290 190 or drop into the theatre to reserve a place.

  • Melanie has worked with young people for over 20-years in a variety of fields including for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. She writes; articles and reviews, children’s books, original theatre pieces and adapts existing works for new audiences. She has a CIM Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing and a PGCert in Teaching Shakespeare and was, until recently a Board Member for Geese Theatre.

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