Members of The Georgian Theatre Royal Youth Theatre will have a rare acting opportunity this week as they head up to Edinburgh to take part in the world’s largest arts festival.
The group - consisting of 11 students aged between 13 and 18 years - will be performing Dorian Gray at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe between 19 and 23 August. This is a new work that has been written especially for the Festival.
It is the second year running that the Georgian’s Youth Theatre has joined the hundreds of professional and performing artists in Edinburgh, a venture that has been made possible thanks to a generous legacy from a local lifelong theatre-lover, Brian Tennant.
The extra money has covered travel, accommodation, venue hire and other associated production costs, making participation accessible to all students who wanted to audition for a place.
“We are thrilled to be returning to Edinburgh this summer,” said Aimee Shields, Youth Theatre Officer at The Georgian Theatre Royal, as well as writer and director of Dorian Gray. “It is unusual for youth theatre groups to perform at the Festival – largely due to time commitments and funding constraints - so we are very pleased to be able to give our students this amazing opportunity.
“Not only do they experience life as a performer at one of the dedicated central venues but they also work as a team on the many back-stage activities that are essential to putting on a show. These are all very valuable life skills and for some this could be their first taste of a future career in the performing arts,” she added.
The production itself is set in the Roaring Twenties and is based on Oscar Wilde’s scandalous Victorian novel that shocked early readers by its hints at unspeakable sins. Charting the disintegration of a young man who trades his soul for eternal youth and beauty, the story is an exposé of a society poisoned by vanity and self-obsession and has lost none of its power to fascinate and disturb.
Dorian Gray has already received great critical acclaim. In April of this year, it won two awards at a regional round of the prestigious All England Theatre Festival for One-act Plays held at the Georgian Theatre Royal. These were: the prize for best youth group; and best performance by an actor, which was shared between Jasper Worrallo (Dorian Gray) and Aidan MacFarlane (Lord Henry Wootten).
The Youth Theatre Group members are hoping for the same success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe that accompanied last year’s production of This is Yorkshire, which attracted sell-out audiences and received great reviews. Writing for the Edinburgh Guide, Imogen Rowe said: “This youth theatre are a group of brave young people with a voice that wants to be heard.”
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 and there are currently over 110 members. Over the years, The Georgian Theatre Royal Youth Theatre has provided a launch pad for many students who have gone on to study drama at Higher Education level and ultimately pursue successful theatre careers.
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
Dorian Gray will be performed from 19 to 23 August at Venue 39, theSpace on the mile, Edingburgh.
PHOTO: Edinburgh-bound! The cast and crew of Dorian Gray, with Youth Theatre Officer, Aimee Shields (centre left).