Youth Work has a rich history of using theatre/drama to stimulate critical conversations about personal, social and political issues. I’m out of touch with how much it features in today’s practice. Meanwhile thanks to James Ballantyne for this link to an excellent piece by theatre director, Toby Ealden.
National Tour Autumn 2017
Created against the background of Brexit, What Once Was Ours uses beautiful imagery, striking original music and immersive design to create this powerful new production, which asks why we’ve become so fearful of anyone who is different from us.
“Stuns the audience into silence”
“What the play achieves best is fluidity – between moments, emotions, politics”
There’s an assumption in some corners of the theatre sector that creating work for young people is somehow a soft or easy option. Our experience is the opposite. Young audiences seek authenticity and honesty. They want drama that tells it how it is and keeps them engaged. If you don’t tick these boxes then the audience will soon let you know. Young people can handle abstraction better than most adults, and they aren’t afraid of being challenged by big ideas or difficult questions. In short, they don’t take any bullshit.
This kind of immediacy is why we create productions for this age range in the first place. Most of our audiences are first time arts attenders, so they don’t enter the theatre with any preconceived ideas or norms of behaviour. We respond by creating immersive worlds in our shows, removing the seating and placing the audience in the centre of the action for a 360-degree experience in which they can actively feel the show rather then passively spectate.
Armed with hours of interview recordings from our tours, we set about boiling all the noise and conversation into a coherent narrative—using these voices to inspire the production but also littering the script with verbatim quotes from the interviews. The resulting show, What Once Was Ours, aims to illustrate the effects of global and national politics on one family—the macro panorama of the bigger story boiled down into the life of a pair of estranged half siblings called Katie and Callum.
Read in full to find out more.