Next week, members of The Georgian Theatre Royal Youth Theatre will be performing a hard-hitting new play about Yorkshire at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival Fringe, thanks to a generous legacy from a local lifelong theatre-lover.
Brian Tennant from Yarm in North Yorkshire, who died in September 2016, aged 72, attended around 100 theatrical shows a year across the UK and was a great supporter of The Georgian Theatre Royal in nearby Richmond. In his will, he left the Theatre a significant bequest, some of which has been used to send a Youth Theatre production to the Fringe.
This is Yorkshire will be performed from 20 to 24 August at Venue 39, theSpace on the mile. The play is inspired by the blistering 2007 film, ‘This is England’, set in 1983, which looks back at working-class life in early eighties Yorkshire through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy who becomes embroiled with two very different skinhead gangs.
“We are thrilled to be able to give our Youth Theatre members this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform at the world’s largest arts festival,” said Aimee Shields, Youth Theatre Officer at The Georgian Theatre Royal, as well as writer and director of This is Yorkshire.
“Brian was passionate about theatre and the arts and we are sure that he would be delighted that his money is being used to engender a love of the stage amongst young people and maybe even inspire a few acting careers along the way.”
Using a cast of 11 talented young people, the play has already received great critical acclaim. Earlier this year, an abridged version of the work won two awards at a regional round of the prestigious All England Theatre Festival for One-act Plays – the only countrywide elimination contest for one-act plays in performance throughout England. This is Yorkshire picked up awards for Best Youth Group and the Adjudicator’s Cup, which was given for the production’s outstanding direction.
With performers aged between 13 and 17 years, This is Yorkshire explores friendship and humour as well as the bitter frustrations and violence of the age. Set against the political landscape of Thatcher’s Britain, with rising xenophobia and mass unemployment, its sobering and powerful commentary on the bitter reality of racism explores issues that are just as relevant today.
During term time, The Georgian Theatre Royal holds a range of after-school and weekend youth theatre classes in Acting and Musical Theatre. These are open to all young people from 6 to 18-years-old.
Anyone interested in joining should contact 01748 825252 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, an application form can be downloaded from www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk
PHOTO: Members of The Georgian Theatre Royal Youth Theatre are pictured in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe show hoodies, purchased courtesy of a generous donation from The Friends of The Georgian Theatre Royal.