Natalie’s Blog – Youth Theatre

fs youth blog

The Youth Theatre has had an incredibly busy Autumn Term here at Freedom Studios, and as the new year approaches, I’m reflecting on some of the highlights from this term, and ending with some pretty big news about the year ahead!


Changing Places

Changing Places was a lovely project, initiated by City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council which focused on bringing children from different communities together through creative drama sessions. We worked in two primary schools in Braithewait estate, Keighley: Merlin Top and Our Lady Victories.  

Theatre maker and performance poet Chris Singleton, delivered theatre workshops once a week, that explored the children’s reactions to the theme of changing places.

“Merlin Top were great at considering the feeling of being new, social situations and real issues of bullying and conflict – so their piece very much existed in the world of the classroom, with excellent impressions of teachers and a really mature way of analysing emotions and problems – their emotional vocabulary is excellent. Our Lady of Victories on the other hand, clearly had a huge wave of imagination to ride, and the changing channels of a TV network became their platform. We had travel shows, slapstick comedy and brought the theme of war in to explore conflict and the things that bring us together.” Chris Singleton

The final event brought both schools together in The Good Shepherd Community Centre. We invited friends and family of both classes and everyone played ‘New Person Bingo!’ (even the grown-ups)! Each school performed their piece excellently, and we finished with some delicious tea and cake. It was a joyful occasion and definitely a highlight of the autumn term.


Carlton Bolling and Grange Tech College

For many years we have been running Youth Theatre after school club in Carlton Bolling and Grange Tech College. The first half of this term was particularly special as we enjoyed our last few sessions with long time FSYT facilitator Natalie Woods, before waving her off onto maternity leave. We wish Natalie all the best and look forward to meeting our youngest member of FSYT very soon!

The second half of the term at Grange Tech was delivered by Leah Francis and Amra Akhtar. They have been devising a performance about, ‘What does Christmas mean to us?’ FSYT members have a diverse range of backgrounds and therefore experience Christmas in lots of different ways. Their performance will be shared at the Grange Tech Winter Showcase on 19th December!  

Carlton Bolling were really lucky for the second half of term as they had a different, yorkshire-based theatre practitioner deliver each session. They were exposed to a huge range of skills from clowning to storytelling, from complicite to halloween horrors! Big shout out to all the practitioners who came and made this half term so exciting!


The Ambassadors!

This term, our longest standing members were invited to become ‘Youth Theatre Ambassadors’. They attended fortnightly workshops at Bradford Playhouse, where they discussed questions such as: What does youth theatre mean to you? What is unique about FSYT? What are our core principles? This has been an amazing opportunity for our youth theatre members to shape the role the youth theatre plays within our company. They have interviewed the Chair of our Board Anj Handa about her work in and out of Freedom Studios and what skills are necessary to be on a board. They interviewed our Press and Marketing Manager Joanna Jowett, and brainstormed ideas about how we can better promote the youth theatre. Co-artistic director Alex Chisholm came and talked to us about her job, how she works with our board and with artists and organisations across Bradford. With Alex came Kirsten Branston from Bradford Live; a project that is going to restore the historic former Odeon building in Bradford city centre. The Ambassadors tried a virtual reality headset which showed them the inside of Bradford Live! Finally, we had even had film-maker Dermot Daly come and help the Ambassadors make a brand new Youth Theatre promotional video.

All the work that the Ambassadors have been doing this past term, has been building up to an exciting announcement…


Freedom Studios Youth Theatre is re-launching in January 2019!

  • This means we will have new groups, new projects and most importantly new youth theatre members!
  • We will have a new home! FSYT will now be based in Kala Sangam.
  • Our FSYT Ambassadors will become the first ever Freedom Studios Youth Board.
  • We will be announcing our new Youth Theatre manifesto

It has been a fantastic term, thank you so much to everyone who contributed to it!  I can’t wait till next year, it is going to be massive!

For more information on how to apply to youth theatre and the re-launch celebration, click here.

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