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CONNECTING WITH YOUNG ACTORS

February 5, 2014

ONE of the unseen failings brought about by the decline in our media, particularly locally, is the regular slipping under the wire of interesting Arts.

For instance Connections. A national event involving 230 Youth Theatre groups across the country , including Hornchurch.

Had it not been for an enthusiastic Education Officer, Patrick O’Sulllivan at the Hornchurch Queen’s Theatre in a passing comment, this would have gone under the wire also.

Sam Ward Smith with some of the Youth Group in the last Community Play at the Queen's 'Lighting up the LaneThis coming Sunday and Monday, February 9/10, Havering’s contribution by the Cut2 Youth Group at the Billet Lane, Queen’s, is a play by Canadian/British playwright, Evan Placey, and called ‘Pronoun’ described as ‘a love story about transition, testosterone and James Dean’. (pictured. Sam Ward-Smith, left, with members of the Youth Group in the 2012 Community Play, Lighting Up the Lane)

It is a National Theatre organised festival that sees 2014 involving Youth Theatre Companies from Plymouth to Edinburgh including our own Hornchurch group, with ten Companies selected to perform at the National Theatre in London as a finale.

The Queen’s group are putting on one of 10 specially written plays aimed at encouraging 13 to 19-year-old youngsters with new playwriting and a whole raft of skills and knowledge of theatre.

A prime sam ward snithexample of the scheme in Havering was Sam Ward-Smith,(;ictured left)  a member of Cut2 who was plucked from the ferment and made the first Apprentice at the Queen’s.

He played a leading part in this year’s pantomime Dick Whittington and is now part of the theatre’s outreach programme taking theatre to local schools.

It is an exciting idea as this is future theatre designed to give young people a practical insight into the magic of theatre,

With more than 5,000 taking part from now until June, the Festival is seen as vehicle giving them the nuts and bolts of putting on a theatrical production from; marketing; design of sets and costumes; lighting, stage managing and operating sound boards.

Nationally the total performances are 684 from the Companies taking part.

Judging by the apparent lack of public awareness of the event, the marketing and promotion side is perhaps long overdue.

The Queen’s Education Department is the local driving force with Patrick O’Sullivan directing, James Watson designing, Amy Insole as Assistant Director and Hornchurch’s  Andrew Linham composing and Musical Director.

Tickets are available from the box office on 01708 443333 and £10 with £7 for concessions for the three performances. Sunday Feb 9 at 9pm Sunday and 7pm and 9pm on Monday February 10.

Not to be missed as this is prime ground floor stuff and the chance to see just how much young talent we have in Havering.

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