Young People Take Control Of Norfolk Venues

A group of young people are seizing control of two Norwich city centre venues this winter to set up their own festival.

Our Young Producers interviewed by Production Officer, Rachel Lloyd.

They have organised exhibitions, performances, workshops and activity sessions on the theme Old Versus New through November.

Known as The Takeover Festival, the 16 to 25-year-old Young Producers are based at the Theatre Royal and learn more about producing and creating work.

As part of the scheme, they were given the challenge of creating their own festival to help equip them with a range of skills they can use onstage and off.

The event begins on November 18 with an exhibition in Stage Two which features work by Norfolk-based artist Mark Wrigley who uses oils to create work with a diverse subject matter ranging from landscapes to portraits. Alongside it will be animation conceived by Emily Tuttlebury, a recent graduate of Goldsmiths University of London who found creating animation helped relax and soothe her when dealing with grief.

This will be followed by a True Stories Workshop hosted by acclaimed Norfolk-based playwright and director James McDermott who created the likes of Rubber Right and new play Camp. Held at the Theatre Royal, participants will be encouraged to tell and share stories at the event on November 22.

Also that day, the Coast To Coast Theatre Company will be performing two performances at Stage Two direct from this summer’s Edinburgh Fringe. They will present Play Before Birth (pictured above), a pre-natal eco-activist thriller about young people and climate change. This will be performed alongside Toe The Line, a comedy-drama which is set in 1972 and looks at how important mutual support is to women, whatever their walk of life. The start-time for the double-bill of plays is 7.30pm.

There will also be the chance to explore the themes of Play Before Birth in a workshop on Nov 22 from 10am.

The following day between 10am and noon, there will be a family crafts session where people transform old materials into colourful baubles and Christmas cards also at the Theatre Royal.

The hit musical Hairspray then takes centre stage later that day. Norwich-based choreographer Cat Chapman and her team from The Workshop Studios will be teaching a routine to one of the show’s best-known numbers from 5.30pm. Then from 7pm, there will be the chance to see a new work choreographed by Cat Chapman especially for the festival followed by a screening of Hairspray and then a Q and A afterwards to explore some of the film’s themes.

John Bultitude, Norwich Theatre Royal communications manager, said: “Our Young Producers have spent many months preparing for this festival and have created a wide-ranging series of events on the theme Old Versus New.

“This has given them an insight into the work that goes into creating an event from finding shows and events through negotiating with artists, marketing and promoting, and making sure the events themselves happen without a hitch.

“As well as those core skills, it has also helped them learn teamwork and boosted their self-esteem while also creating an exciting programme of work for November.”

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