Feature on Central Youth Theatre

How would you describe your youth organisation?

We provide opportunities for young people aged 8-25 years to learn a broad range of skills associated with the dramatic arts.

We also stage productions of the highest possible standard and develop young people’s interest in, and understanding of, all aspects of the production process, so the final performance becomes the responsibility of young people. E.g. lighting, sound, stage-management etc.

How does your organisation help young people?

By providing weekly workshops, special events, performances, international exchanges and festivals.

How many young people do you help?

We have an average size membership of around 100 young people.

How big is your organisation?

We are quite a small organisation. One part time director plus freelance staff.

What types of young people do you work with?

Our membership is open to anyone between age of 8-25 years of age living in or near Wolverhampton

We also offer a group for young people with special needs.

When was your organisation set up?

1983

Why was it set up?

To provide youth theatre opportunities for young people

What have been the highlights and the achievements of the organisation so far?

INTERNATIONAL WORK

CYT has a strong reputation for the diversity of its production work and has a great deal of experience of attending international festivals, as well as undertaking several foreign exchange programmes.

The International festivals we have attended include:

The Sapperlot International Youth Theatre Festival Prize in Brixen, Tyrol (00, 02, 04)
The Hollawind Festival, Brixen, Tyrol (05 & 06).
Soukani Festival Czech Republic (01, 03 & 05)
Austrian National Youth Theatre Festival, Hall Austria (05)
Step by Step Festival, Rezekne, Latvia (04)
European Youth Theatre Camp, Hall, Austria (03)
Baden Inscenario Festival, Vienna, Austria (06)
Paderborn International Theatre Festival (04)
International  Theatertreff   Lörrach,  Germany (04 & O6)
Youth on Stage Festival, Leuven, Belgium (03)
Cabinteely International Youth Drama Festival, Dublin, Ireland (94, 97 & 00)
Moscow International Student Theatre Festival (90)

Exchange programmes include work with:
Austria, Bosnia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy Lithuania and Russia.

Festivals within the UK include:

3 award winning visits to the Irish Cabinteely International Youth Drama Festival (94, 97 & 2000).   In 97 the group scooped twelve awards for best group and individual performances.
7 week long visits to National Youth Arts Festival, N. Devon (87/88/89/92/94/98/99)
3 visits to the month long Edinburgh Fringe Festival (88/90/91)
BT National Connections Youth Drama Festival (97)
Lloyds Bank National Theatre Challenge (89 & 92)
National Student Drama Festival (89)
Jammin’ 85 in Battersea Park, London.(85)

Workshops with international and national theatre directors/tutors from:

The RSC, Royal National Theatre, Academic Theatre Vilnius Lithuania, Tag Theatre Venice, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy and Richmond USA, along with many other freelance drama specialists.

Theatre Productions Staged

The range of performances staged is varied and challenging, from text based classics to modern contemporary playwrights and devised work. Examples of work staged by senior members include:

Zigger Zagger, Scully, Blood Brothers, Look Back in Anger, Macbeth, Jungle Book, The Shoot Horses Don’t They adapted from the film, Archangels Don’t Play Pinball, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, Anna Karenina, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, The Mill on the Floss, Alice in Wonderland, The Bar Mitzvah Boy & One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.

Between 2000 and 2005 Youth Theatre has collaborated with the Wolverhampton Arena Theatre to stage an annual pantomime for a ten day run, there productions were written especially for the company by professional playwright Jonathan Collings.

Performance Venues

Besides regular performances at the Arena Theatre,  CYT have also staged work at the Newhampton Arts Centre, Grand Theatre, Wulfrun Hall, local School/Community Centres and in many different type of venues in the international countries the young people have visited.

Film & TV Work

In 1985, as part of the International Youth Year, CYT was selected from out of 500 groups around the country to devise and create a half hour TV drama which was to become the English film in an International Series entitled “It’s Our World” The youth theatre’s film was called “It’s Good ‘Ere ‘Innit” and was shown not just on Channel 4 but also in Japan, Israel & Australia.

Local film and TV companies often contact the youth theatre to find young people for extra work.  Members have been involved in films such as Merchant Ivory’s “The feast of July” and TV programmes such as Crimewatch, Jupiter Moon and The Bill.

What are the plans for the organisation this year?

We are planning a range of activities to celebrate our 25th Anniversary.