I ran a youth theatre for a while. The energy and enthusiasm was exciting (occasionally overwhelming). We devised a couple of short pieces (Nightmares and The Seven Ages of Youth in 1998), which went well, and then I took a step back and became the playwright for the group.
The three plays I wrote were published in a single volume (now out of print). They are all for large casts for ages 11-16. They run at about 20-30 minutes long and there’s room and licence to adapt them to suit local circumstances.
The three plays in the book are…
Stories of The Never Could Be, Stories of The Never Was
Commissioned by Worcester Theatre Company’s Youth Theatre
A 30 minute play for around 28 young people (doubling possible)
First performed 25-26 February 1999 in The Foyer Bar, Worcester Swan Theatre. Directed by Kim Greengrass, Lighting by Nick Marston
I knew when I was asked to write a play based on storytelling that I could rely on the Youth Theatre to generate plenty of ideas in their devising sessions. From them came the storytelling styles that are the foundation of the ‘Stories…’
But what story to tell? The breakthrough came when I visited the Swan during the winter’s floods. While we the audience stood in the bar, some canoeists paddled past the window. We waved at each other. In that bizarre moment everything clicked into place… apart from the writing, the re-writing, months of rehearsals…
Commissioned by Worcester Swan Theatre’s Next Generation Youth Theatre.
The first production was directed by Mel Humphries
A short play for between 15 and 25 young people aged 11-18 years old. First performed in the Swan’s studio from 28-30 March, 2001.
now was written working closely with the senior youth theatre (age 14-18). It concerns the fears and desires that colour their day to day life. The play has a fast moving, fragmentary structure and requires chorus work and movement skills. It contains plenty of individual moments to give every actor a feature scene or two.
A second production by Explore Youth Theatre of Cheltenham was performed on November 7 2004 at the Somerset Youth Drama Festival in Minehead. The director was Suzie Almond. Explore won the ‘Best Presentation’ award for their work with now.
The third production was directed by original director Mel Lewis (nee Humphries). It was part of Swan Youth Theatre’s Extravaganza show on 7-8 July ’06 on The Swan’s main stage.
A fourth production took place in the Lake District in December of 2007 – It was co-directed by Michael Eccles.
Production number five took place in the Lake District in December 2009 – It was directed by Michael Eccles.
Commissioned by Worcester Swan Theatre’s Next Generation Youth Theatre Group, but never produced.
The planned performance (20 July 2002) was postponed – In the meantime The theatre was closed and the play was never performed.
The Man in the Moon falls to earth and can’t get back. It seems that only one person can help it, but he insists that the Moon perform three incredible feats before it can be restored.
Will the night be forever black? Will the tides stop? Will the harvests fail?
Originally a site-specific street theatre piece, it could easily be adapted for indoor performance.
For a cast of twenty five 11-18 year olds.