Talented youth take over the Playhouse

The Once Upon A Woodland event launches this weekend.
The Once Upon A Woodland event launches this weekend.

The area’s talented youth are in charge again this weekend as Young Alnwick Playhouse hosts its spring takeover at the town venue.

The event, tomorrow, features the launch of a new scheme for younger children during the daytime, followed by an evening double bill of a new theatre performance and a documentary film based on the high school’s latest musical.

The Duchess's Community High School performing Disco Inferno.

The Duchess's Community High School performing Disco Inferno.

Once Upon a Woodland, which is described as a celebration of stories, creativity and new beginnings, takes place from 10.30am to noon tomorrow and will see the launch of Alnwick Playhouse’s very own Storytelling Chair (more details, below).

In the evening, from 7.30pm, the senior group of the Playhouse Youth Theatre is taking part in the biggest Youth Theatre Festival on the globe led by the National Theatre. They will be performing The Boy Preference, by Elinor Cook (more details, below).

In the second half of the evening, The Making of a High School Musical will be screened, which is a short documentary made by Duchess’s Community High School students, working with professional local filmmaker Alan Fentiman. The film has been shot over a period of rehearsals and performances of the latest high-school production, Disco Inferno, and it offers all the cast the opportunity to see themselves as stars on the big screen.

Tickets for the evening cost £8, £6 child/student. Both projects are part-funded by the Playhouse’s Front Row scheme.

Taking part in the biggest youth theatre festival on the planet

The National Theatre has commissioned and published more than 140 plays for its Connections project, which offers young people aged 13 to 19 across the country access to the very best new writing for theatre.

Not only will Young Alnwick Playhouse perform on the Playhouse stage on Saturday night, but also at Northern Stage in Newcastle with the possibility of being selected to perform at the National Theatre, London.

The group’s chosen play is The Boy Preference, by Elinor Cook, which is set in the near future in a society that values boys over girls.

In an affluent suburb, the birth of a boy is welcomed with shouts of joy and firecrackers, but when a girl is born, the neighbours say nothing. This play looks at what happens one night when a boy called Joey looks out of his window and sees all of the ‘missing’ girls have come back...but why are they here and what do they want?

The Boy Preference is being directed by Sarah McLane, assisted by Carrie Morrison. Sarah said: “This has been a very exciting and challenging play to produce. We have created a world that is similar, but not quite like our own, where we question everyone’s motive and behaviours. I look forward to seeing the audience’s reaction to this very contemporary piece of theatre.”

New chair for focus on stories

Once Upon A Woodland, which takes place tomorrow morning, is the launch of a new storytelling session at Alnwick Playhouse.

Following consultation with Northumberland-based families back in early 2014, the arts venue is thrilled to be in a position to have been able to respond to the idea of offering story-time sessions at the Playhouse and be welcoming a very special new addition to the furniture.

The event will see the launch of Alnwick Playhouse’s very own Storytelling Chair, designed by children from the mini Youth Theatre group (aged seven to 10) along with North East-based visual artist Alison Ashton. The event content has been directly inspired by the children’s ideas from walks in their local area with their families.

Audiences will be treated to stories from local storytellers and a reading and demonstration from author Gary Northfield. They will also be able to buy signed copies of Gary’s new book, Julius Zebra.

The chair itself is a wonder to behold and will be launched by the children on stage from 10.30am. It will then be moved to its permanent home in the bar area.