Langley Youth Theatre Workshops

20130128-093027.jpgYesterday I had the total pleasure of being asked to visit Langley Youth Theatre in the West Midlands and deliver some short performance workshops to the talented cast as they rehearse for ‘Little Shop of Horrors’.

As a teacher I am continually surprised and dumbstruck by the talent of our youth in every corner of this country – and LYT was no different. Unassuming rehearsal space, unassuming and supportive creative team and above all, a cast brimming with talent and enthusiasm. The whole company is the epitome of hard work and dedication in youth theatre. Long may they continue!

The ensemble were my first victims (cue melodramatic-moustache-twirling-ness). We spent our time together working thorough the ideas of being an ensemble; team work, supporting each other, moving and reacting as one body … Ya’ll know the drill. They were eager and ready to commit to any activity I gave them whilst at the the same time asking questions and being curious about the process.

This was exactly the same for the principals. This is one of the strongest casts I have ever seen for a youth production of this cult musical (not seen it? It’s about a blood-thirsty plant, ok?!) We spent a lot of our time working through characterisation and how to react instinctively without musical theatre arms: my pet hate. Why do people feel the urge to slowly raise their arms without thought or motive in a song?! HUH? I don’t mind arms or grasping at the air scrap that…I abhor air grabbing. Not that this talented bunch had these involuntary glee-arm movements but I stamped it out before it had chance to get a hold of their innocent minds.

From Seymour to the Diana Ross clan, the singing is incredible. Voices come out of tiny bodies that would convince me I was back at The MTA in London. Stunning.

Youth Theatre is alive and well. We know this from NYMT and their recent success with Jason Robert Brown’s UK Premier of ’13’ in the West End as well as YMT continuously supporting new writers of musical theatre. The West Midlands has some of the best Pro/Am theatre in the country with many UK premier productions being staged including Beauty and The Beast and La Cage. These youth theatre groups rehearse many, many times a week and ask such dedication from their casts … and they always produce.

My aim this year is to see as much youth theatre as possible and I will be starting with seeing Langley Youth Theatre’s production of Little Shop on 15th and 16th June at The Crescent in Birmingham. Why not join me? Tickets can be booked at the link below:

Are you a youth theatre group in the West Midlands and want a workshop or even a spotlight on what you are doing? Post a comment below and I’ll get back to you!