We’re in the army now!

Judy Tribe and members of Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre who will benefit from the Jam Jar Army appeal.
Judy Tribe and members of Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre who will benefit from the Jam Jar Army appeal.

PIRATES, gangsters and musicians living under the shadow of Aids are some of the characters that will be brought to life this year by the talented youngsters of north Northumberland.

And you can help support their artistic endeavours by getting behind this year’s Jam Jar Army campaign in aid of Alnwick Playhouse Youth Theatre

It offers an opportunity for children aged between seven and 19 who want to sing, dance and act.

No previous experience is necessary – just bags of enthusiasm, commitment and a sense of humour.

The Youth Theatre runs three groups – junior, middle and senior – encompassing about 135 youngsters in all, who rehearse on Sundays.

At the moment, each group is again preparing to perform a lively musical.

The seven to nine-year-olds of the junior group present Pirates of the Curry Bean on Saturday, March 24 followed by Bugsy Malone, performed by the middle group (10 to 13-year-olds) in June and July.

July will also see the senior group (13 to 19-year-olds) take on the Broadway classic Rent.

Although it is based in Alnwick, the Youth Theatre is truly a resource for the whole area.

Currently on board for the first two productions of the year are members from Bamburgh, Seahouses, Rothbury, Eglingham, Edlingham, Morpeth and Wooler then others from Chathill, Embleton, Christon Bank, Longhorsley, Lesbury, Widdrington and all points in between.

In the Senior Youth Theatre in the past, some members have travelled from as far as Berwick to take part.

Gazette editor Paul Larkin said: “Our readers have voted for another fantastic cause to benefit from our second Jam Jar Army appeal.

“The Playhouse is a integral and much-loved feature of the north Northumberland community and the Youth Theatre is a big part of that.

“I hope everyone gets behind the campaign as enthusiastically as last time, so let’s start collecting those pennies!”

The Youth Theatre fought off strong competition from four other charities who support north Northumberland.

The Great North Air Ambulance, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, Age UK Northumberland and the Alnwick Garden all put forward schemes that were worthy contenders.

The Great North Air Ambulance’s life-saving operations are vital in rural areas while the Wildlife Trust was bidding to carry out a long-overdue otter survey.

Age UK Northumberland wanted support to establish an outreach programme for dementia patients and the Alnwick Garden felt that their Woodland Walk could become an educational resource for the community.

But in the end, our readers felt that the Playhouse’s dedication to the development of youth theatre in the area is deserving of our support.