Please tell me I’m not the only one: when somebody speaks to me about drama and theatre, it is obviously noticeable that my face lights up. I cannot help but be drawn in and then spend hours upon hours speaking not only about the performance, but the process itself.
My name is Lewis Pickles, and I am a 16 year old Toynbee School student, who has been involved in the local theatre scene for around 5 years. I fell in love with the theatre after having performed the Mad Hatter, when I was a mere 11 year old, in Alice. I have since created my own youth theatre and we are now returning to my forgotten past and producing the very play, ‘Alice’ by Laura Wade, as our first production.
What is the Arcade Youth Theatre (AYT) all about?
The Arcade Youth Theatre (AYT), drawing its name from the Fryern Arcade, and the image of arcadia, are a youth theatre like no other in the local area. I set this company up February last year with the ambition of creating a place where young people can work cooperatively to explore and experiment with drama.
The company is run by young people, for young people – aged 11-17. In the sessions, I will facilitate but the bulk of the development and creativity is sparked from the minds of the 11 young members we have.
I have found drama education vital to my own personal development and I’d like all young people to be able to experience the joy of theatre and performance without the prejudice and judgement set upon them in audition, performance focused companies.
My dream is for the company to one day have a vast member base, so we can run different sessions tailored to specific skills and themes.
For example, we could have an older group, who work on producing professional quality plays that focus on the darker issues in adolescents, or even a musical theatre company.
Or – and this is my favourite – a company who creates pieces of an educational or community idea and presents that to local schools, care homes, and community areas. AYT is here for the community.
We meet at the Chandler’s Ford Methodist Church every Tuesday from 7 – 9pm and we have access to 2 rehearsal spaces.
Volunteers needed. Can you help us?
The company would not be possible without the help and support of our chaperone team. Each session must have 2 DBS checked adults attending. These amazing community volunteers give up 1 or 2 evenings a month to ensure AYT can continue.
We do, however, ask for more. The more support we have, the fewer those volunteers will be needed, and the more AYT can flourish.
As a volunteer, you can either get stuck in with us, or relax and use the time to read a book, or catch up on work. The responsibilities are few.
If you, or anybody you may know, interested as a prospective member or chaperone volunteer, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Here is a short film we recently made:
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