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Wed Dec 13, 2017

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It is with regret that the last session of Worthing Youth Theatre was

 

Friday 7th July 2017

 

We have tried to keep the organisation going but over the last few years it has been increasingly difficult to find staffing. As a registered charity, certain regulations have to be adhered to and without adequate staffing it has become unsustainable.

Worthing Youth Theatre has a long history:

Background

The Worthing Youth Theatre was formed in 1980, having evolved from the Connaught Young People’s Theatre Scheme. The organisation started at the Connaught but over the years has had to find alternative venues throughout the town. It has met at Crescent Rd, now ‘Welcome In’, The Sidney Walter Centre, The Glynn Owen Centre, The Ritz, The Annex at the Sidney Walter Centre and finally The Rosie.

The Organisation

WYT was a dynamic youth drama club for young people from 5 – 22 years. The membership was for all young people regardless of talent; mixing social activities with drama input. The membership was over 150 and children with special needs were as involved and active as any other member, gaining tremendous confidence and high self-esteem through this valuable experience.

The regular weekly sessions allowed the young people to express their thoughts and feelings, develop their communication skills and explore their personal potential.

Youth Representatives sat on a management committee to put forward their ideas in making decisions.

The Leader

Caroline Bean is a qualified youth worker and youth theatre worker. She worked as a lecturer at Northbrook College in Performing Arts. She also trained Youth Workers.

In 1999 she received a Worthing Honour for her ‘outstanding commitment, contribution and dedication to the development of youth drama in the town’.

Activities

The members learnt theatre crafts such as stage-fighting, make-up, mime, masks, and video, and each year the WYT put on a show of three plays. The groups wrote or devised their own plays. At first the shows were put on at The Connaught Theatre and from 1996 the shows were presented at Northbrook Theatre. From 2014 the shows were presented at Sealight Theatre, Worthing Sixth Form College.

The WYT have toured three plays into youth clubs on issues relevant to young people, the first was on bullying and the second was about peer pressure and the dangers of drug taking. The third play ‘Breadline Baby’ was supported by an A4E Lottery Express Grant, and was toured into nine youth clubs. ‘Style Matters’ a multi media show about fashion, body image and internet safety was performed to youth club audiences at a number of studio theatres in West Sussex.

The WYT have worked in partnership with Sussex Police on several occasions. They presented a drama input on “Drugs in Our Community” and “Crime Prevention Scenes’ at Worthing Assembly Hall. In 1999 they toured ‘Knock, Knock – Who’s There? Written by Caroline Bean into day centres and clubs for elderly people warning them of the dangers of bogus doorstep callers.

Worthing Youth Theatre - Media

In 2005 WYT formed a media branch ‘Worthing Youth Media’ and produced a high profile multi-media production ‘Worthing Essence’ supported by a Young Roots, Lottery Grant. Presented at the Pavilion Theatre in Worthing, a drama about Worthing in 1800s was performed against a film backdrop ‘The Key to the Past’. The film was set in modern day Worthing based on fights between Chavs and Goths. This reflected the strife of the Bonfire Boys in the 1800s.

WYM joined with Worthing Youth Council to produce a film ‘Use it, Don’t Abuse it’ funded by Norwich Union, encouraging young people to enjoy their environment rather than abusing it.

WYM also went on to win awards through ‘First Light’ a lottery based youth film initiative for young people. The awards were presented at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London.

Other activities: Ran residential drama weekends at Lodge Hill. Attended ‘Big Youth Theatre Festival’ – 4 days camping at Gilwell Park with performances, workshops, discussions and lots of fun.

Much of the above activities would not have been possible without the tremendous support from parents and the Management Committee past and present. Our heartfelt thanks go to these wonderful supporters who have put a lot of their time and energy into so many projects, raising money, creating costumes, chaperoning young performers and so much more.

So our decision to close the organisation has been a very hard one and not a decision taken lightly. It is very sad but the time has come to pull down the curtain.

The Trustees of Rainbow Theatre and Youth Drama Trust. June 2017