White City youth actors set for Lyric stage debut

04 May 2017

“Finding common goals through theatre builds friendships, offers support, the kind of fun that changes things for the better. Theatre can help to give young people a voice, open their eyes and can challenge their fixed ideas."

Young people from the White City Youth Project will perform The Monstrum at the famous Lyric Hammersmith this weekend.

The next generation of actors from the youth drama group funded by People’s Health Trust - using money raised by HealthEquality through The Health Lottery - has forged a link with the prestigious National Theatre and are set to showcase their talents this weekend.

The young people from the White City Youth Theatre will be performing on stage at the Lyric theatre as part of the National Theatre Connections festival – a nationwide celebration of new plays for young people.

The Monstrum is one of just ten brand new plays written especially for the National Theatre’s Connections festival and follows the story of a disease which breaks out among a village’s children.

The 20-strong cast involved in the performance of The Monstrum, by playwright Kellie Smith, have been rehearsing intensely since January for the show on 6 May. The pressure will be on for the local youngsters – aged from nine to 19 – as it will be the first time that many of them have set foot on a professional stage.



White City Youth Theatre co-director, Lucy Foxell, explained that the project was a ‘really exciting opportunity for the young people’. She said:

“It has been an amazing experience for the kids because the play is so well written, and to get the opportunity to do a piece especially written for young people is incredible.

“It is amazingly hard work, but we are delighted to be involved with such a prestigious theatre - it’s such an exciting experience.”

One of the young people taking part in the performance at the Lyric Hammersmith is 15-year-old Steph Jahier, who said the play ‘reflects what we are all going through as teenagers and how our parents struggle with the way we change’. Steph, said:

“We have learnt so much since we started working on The Monstrum, and the whole experience of being part of National Theatre Connections has been a fun and enjoyable one.

“To be able to perform at our local theatre is beyond amazing and we honestly cannot wait for show day to arrive.”

The White City Youth Theatre is one of more than 250 young theatre groups taking part in the Connections festival this year, and the National Theatre’s director Rufus Norris explained it was ‘one of the most important projects we do’.

“We think it vital that young people, wherever they are in the country and whatever their future path, have a chance to get involved in theatre,” he added.

Lucy has seen first-hand how theatre can be a powerful way to build communities. She said:

“Finding common goals through theatre builds friendships, offers support, the kind of fun that changes things for the better. Theatre can help to give young people a voice, open their eyes and can challenge their fixed ideas.

“Through the project, we have seen that exploring life through drama builds confidence, helps communication, brings new skills for life - the personal assets that can turn lives around. It’s proof that drawing communities together through drama breaks down barriers, identifies common issues, all those things that improve community cohesion.”



The White City Youth Theatre will perform The Monstrum at the Lyric Hammersmith on at 8.30pm on Saturday 6 May. Tickets are £8 and available from the box office on 020 8741 6850.



Since 2014, People’s Health Trust has invested more than £81,000 in the White City Theatre Project, using money raised by HealthEquality through The Health Lottery. 

The funding has been used to deliver weekly drama sessions to young people, aged between nine and 19 years old, who live on the White City Estate in West London. The young people are not only engaging in the lessons, but increasing their confidence, learning new skills and building new friendships.
 

You have already completed an application for funding, are you sure you would like to submit another application? You should only submit another application if it is for a different project. If you want to amend an application that has already been submitted, please call us on 020 7749 9100.

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