'Outlander' star Sam Heughan's generosity helps young drama club members attend youth theatre festival for free [Exclusive Interview]
“Outlander” star Sam Heughan decided to secretly help a group of drama club members in Borders, Scotland, after he received a letter from them seeking his help. In an exclusive interview with International Business Times, Australia, Charlie Dawson, who wrote the letter, talked about the drama club and how the actor helped them.

“Outlander” star Sam Heughan decided to secretly help a group of drama club members in Borders, Scotland, after he received a letter from them seeking his help. In an exclusive interview with International Business Times, Australia, Charlie Dawson, who wrote the letter, talked about the drama club and how the actor helped them.

The Rowland’s Youth Charity was setup by concerned members of the community to provide an alcohol and drug-free centre for young people. The success of the Scottish actor Heughan inspired the group, and they wrote to the actor requesting him to lead the group in an acting class.

“Our Drama Club has been running for nearly a year now with a group of young people aged 12-19 attending every 2 weeks on a Friday. We do improvisation Workshops, games and are currently studying scenes from famous Scottish plays. At the moment we are looking at scenes from ‘The Steamie’ by Tony Roper. The group will split up into small groups of 3 or 4 and read through the scene then perform it for the rest of the group. Everyone then discusses the scene and what was good, what could be improved and how the characters were portrayed,” Dawson said.

Heughan has been busy on press tours, and filming the TV series. But, that did not stop the actor from recognising how important it is to nurture young talent, and promote organizations like the Rowland’s Youth Charity. He immediately contacted Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, of which he is a patron. The organisation conducts the annual National Festival of Youth Theatre, the largest annual gathering of youth theatres in the UK.

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The Power of a Creative Childhood: Youth Circus

A New Direction has been examining the importance of culture and creativity to childhood, focusing on the barriers to ensuring all young Londoners can take part in, and benefit from, the creative life of the city. Recent research shows that:

  1. Learning through arts and culture improves attainment in all subjects.
  2. Participation in structured arts activities increases cognitive abilities.
  3. Students from low income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree.
  4. Employability of students who study arts subjects is higher and they are more likely to stay in employment.
  5. Students who engage in the arts at school are twice as likely to volunteer and are 20% more likely to vote as young adults.

We’re really excited to again be hosting the National Youth Circus Event at the National Centre in February 2016. It gives youth circuses across the country the opportunity to visit the National Centre for Circus Arts, take part in a weekend of masterclasses and meet other young circus performers. Follow National Youth Circus.

We also offer scholarships to help young people take part in circus, who otherwise would not be able to afford the training. It allows successful participants to be awarded a full year of training at no cost.

Support this charitable work, as well as our schools outreach activities, with our Launchpad fund.


hey everybody!! i’m pleased to finally tell you that a play i wrote, xe, about non-binary individuals trying to survive in british society, made it to the shortlist of a national theatre competition, and will therefore be performed as a rehearsed reading at the shed, the national theatre’s temporary venue, on tuesday 8th july

if you’re free, you’re welcome to come along, it’d be great to see some of you there


Globe Summer Schools

Would you (or someone you know) like to learn more about Shakespeare and performance right here at the Globe? We offer short summer courses for young people, exploring acting as well as academic Shakespeare study. Courses offer 16-19 year-olds the chance to watch and discuss Globe productions, work with leading actors and academics, and attend Q&As and lectures.

David Roberts, who attended one of our summer schools last summer, said:

The course enabled me to work with a group of like-minded people who had a passion for theatre and Shakespeare. I got to work with passionate actors and directors at a professional level. The course let us get up close and personal with Shakespeare and allowed me to understand the true mechanics of his writings, but were explored in an exciting way to captivate our imaginations. This course was a truly magical experience ending with a presentation in the Globe and Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, a place filled with so much heritage already. It was a true honour to tread the boards as so many greats have before. A wonderful experience that prepared me for my next step into drama school.

Find out more about our Young Academics Summer School and our two-week Shakespeare’s Globe Summer School.

(Image credits: Cesare De Giglio)

Well that's annoying.

 A while ago, I went to a meeting at the Green Room, which is this little amateur theatre here in Carlisle. The meeting was about the coming years productions so people could see if they were interested in any and sign up to be casted. I signed up for the youth theatre production and was really excited about it. 

 This meeting was back in November last time, and I still hadn’t heard anything from the woman organising the youth project so I figured there maybe hadn’t been enough interest and the idea had died, or they didn’t need any new members or something like that.

 This morning I just received an email from her saying she was sorry I couldn’t make it on sunday and would she be seeing me on wednesday as there were still a few parts to cast. I have no email or text or anything saying anything about a sunday?? Anyway, I replied saying of course I would be there on wednesday and apologised for not being there on sunday and explained why, but I am SO annoyed with 02 and their fucking “masts” preventing me getting important texts and emails. I could have missed out on a good opportunity because of them.

 I’ll probably only get a small part now, as the main one’s will have been cast last week, which I missed, but to be involved in it at all is a very good opportunity right now, so I’m just grateful for that.
Amber Run - 5AM (Short Film)
It's taken nearly a year but the second video is finally here! This whole thing probably could have been done in 3 days but due to myself, the cast and the c...

Hey guys, here’s a short film my friend @thesmartalec has been working on with myself and @i-see-free-cheese. Its taken a bit longer than usual due to busy schedules but we got it down over a 3 day shoot.

It would really mean the world if you shared this around, we really pour passion and soul into what we do, to create beautiful and worthwhile art. 

Thank you so much my lovelies and have a beautiful day 
Please please please sign this petition

When I was in high school I was a part of a really terrific youth theatre company. The company was made up of 4 full time staff members, a handful of part-time staff members, and 40-50 students who were accepted to the program. 

We, the students, were taught about all the aspects of putting on productions, from stage management, to tech work, to acting, everything that has to be done to put on a production was done by students. Staff is always present to answer our questions and teach the proper safety, but much of the work is done by the students.

Its a wonderful opportunity for kids interested in theatre, and the entire group is like a family. It was my home away from home, and I’m incredibly grateful to have been a part of it.

Over the past couple years, the city has been cutting more and more funding, because in their opinion our program isn’t important. The company is slowly dying and yet they are still fighting to survive. 

If you could take two seconds to sign this petition with painfully few signatures, it would really mean a lot to me. I’m just trying to do what I can to convince the city that what this program does IS important, it DOES matter, and it makes a difference in people’s lives. 

Shakespearean Youth Theatre: The Tempest Kickstarter

Hi everyone! 

I am currently involved in a production of The Tempest, produced by The Shakespearean Youth Theatre.

The Shakespearean Youth Theatre (SYT) formed in 2004 and is comprised of Twin Cities-area homeschooling or alternative schooling student-actors. SYT’s mission is to provide an opportunity for students to study and perform Shakespeare and our goal is to bring Shakespeare’s language alive and make his stories relevant and accessible to our students and audience.

This is my fifth year in SYT, and I am continuously blown away with the care put into these productions. Shakespeare is so frequently viewed by the world as hoity-toity, pretentious, hard to understand. It’s held that kids and teens have no interest in working with it, and would be completely unable to if they did. 

Our cast and crew proves this wrong. The passion and interest of the cast is staggering, and the support and instruction we receive from our teachers is incredible. It’s been amazing watching my peers grow their understanding of Shakespeare, develop as actors, and become more confident in themselves. 

We are now in tech week for our most recent show The Tempest. I am playing the wonderful part of Prospero! (Like, seriously? I’m seventeen, and I get to play Prospero? What?) 

We’re setting our play in the early 1900’s, in an alternate universe where steam-powered technology rules the world. While there are very real spirits, Prospero harnesses the power of the spirit world through genius machinery, rather than actual sorcery.

Because there still is magic in the play, we’re playing a lot with fabric in this to create effects, using shadow screens, and what are essentially elementary magic tricks. We’re using lots of big pieces of fabric to create the world, and PVC pipes to create Prospero’s machinery.

I’m so proud of all the work my fellow actors have put into their parts, and I really think this will be a great show. Every part of the production sings with passion, and I’m so honored to be a part of it. The only thing we really need now is the funding to support the work we’ve put into this. 

As I write this, we are at $505, and have 56 hours to raise the remaining $1000 we need to meet our goal. Since Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing funding format, we have to reach our goal– otherwise we won’t get any of the funds. 


Please please please, help us in whatever way you can. If you can’t donate, please reblog and spread the word! We want to get this out there to as many people as possible within the next 56 hours. 

Thank you so much– your support is very very appreciated! 


Dan Colley devised and directed Like/Poke/Ignore with Transition Years in Mount Temple Comprehensive in 2010 and You Asked For It in 2011. He will return to Mount Temple in March 2012, this time with the assistance of the Arts Council’s Young People Children and Education bursary.

So I’m thinking of writing a YA book (a sequel to the one I’m working on now), about a Jewish Community Center’s mostly-female youth theatre group doing Les Mis. It will be more character driven than plot driven, but I have some ideas.

*The main character, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, is unexpectedly cast as Jean Valjean and ends up doing a great job despite initial self-doubt and despite (or partly because of) an ill-hidden crush on the Javert.

*A chubby black girl (yes, both Jewish and black - they exist) is unexpectedly cast as Enjolras and ends up doing a great job. She also develops real sexual tension with the also-female Grantaire.

*Marius is played by an FtM trans boy, but this fact will only be mentioned a few times - it’s not a big deal, it’s just who he happens to be.

*The idea that Fantine and Cosette are the “weak” female characters to Éponine’s Strong Female Character™ will be thoroughly pulverized.

*Over the course of the four-month rehearsal period, Purim and Passover will be celebrated and lovingly depicted - with emphasis on certain parallel themes in the Bible stories and Les Mis.

*The ongoing relevance of Hugo’s themes will be discussed, as will the question of whether his message of hope is still relevant, even after all the horrors (and a certain one in particular) of the 20th century.

*One of the girls in the group has primordial dwarfism. The director casts her as Éponine, not because her audition was the best, but just because “she deserves the chance to shine in a major role.” But in a subversion of the “Inspirationally Disadvantaged” trope, it becomes clear that this a bad idea: she isn’t vocally suited to the role, Thénardier’s character loses some edge because he can’t slap her around, and “A Little Fall of Rain” is traumatic both for her and for the other cast members because her actual life expectancy is short. But because she feels like she needs to be Inspirationally Disadvantaged, she soldiers on through the role, until she starts having panic attacks. At which point she finally speaks up, asks to switch roles with her understudy, and ends up doing an excellent job doubling as the Hair Crone and Montparnasse instead. And even though her short life expectancy is repeatedly mentioned, she averts the “Bury Your Disabled” trope by still being alive in the end.

Thoughts, anyone?

Upcoming Theater

Tomorrow I am going to see a youth theater production of In the Heights. Now… not sure about that, but I’ve really wanted to see the show, and it is the closest that I probably will get.

Then on Friday I am going to see another youth theater summer camp production of Once on This Island where my little friend Emily is playing the god of death or something. I literally know nothing about this show, except I’ve heard a couple of songs on Sirius XM.


Joining Southwark Youth Theatre

If you live or learn in Southwark, are aged 10-18 and like the idea of performing on the Globe stage, Southwark Youth Theatre could be for you. Our Youth Theatre ethos is based on four core values: Respect, Connect, Support, and Perform. 

Our aim is to work with young people across Southwark to develop their confidence, their ability to engage with others, their opportunities to work together, their performance skills and their enjoyment of Shakespeare. 

In this short video, Joseph Winer, Globe Education Assistant - Learning Projects, outlines the year ahead for young people thinking of joining our Youth Theatre. 

Find out more about Southwark Youth Theatre and how to join. 

anonymous asked:

I have been involved with a K-12 youth theater that hasn't really had proper anything, and I was wondering if you could explain what a Technical Director does? Because we have one for the first time and she's really tyrannical. One of our actors is pretty much the only person comfortable on a ladder to hang/adjust lights while the LD creates the cues. But then the actor gets told that he can't because the TD says that "he has to be an actor right now", so how do you deal with that?

Well this question has a couple of elements to it.

First of all, a Technical Director is in charge of everything technical. This means building scenery, hanging lights, running audio cable, keeping track of the set budgets, maintaining a build schedule, and making sure that everything is safe. Typically they don’t design the same productions they are TDing (although that is not always the case). Also typically there are other people involved in this process- other carpenters who answer to the TD, scenic painters, a props master, a master electrician who is in charge of the lights and runs their own crew of electricians, an audio engineer, etc. But the TD is still ultimately in charge, whether they do all things technical by themselves or are supervising a team of 2 or 20. 

In your case, I can’t really speak to your TD being “tyrannical” because I don’t have enough information. If you’re used to the tech side of things being sort of an every-man-for-himself situation to get the job done, then suddenly having one person be the responsible, decision-making party could feel tyrannical without actually being tyrannical. Sometimes a new person who wants to introduce a more standard operating procedure can meet with a lot of resistance in the form of “we’ve always done it this way and who are you to tell us to change.” Give her some time to get used to you guys and for you guys to get used to her. Try and see the logic or the wisdom in the way she wants you to do things. 

Or, on the flip side, she could be a stone cold dictator on a power trip. If that’s the case, maybe talk to whoever is in charge (a production manager or artistic director, maybe?).

With the example you gave, there are a couple possibilities- if the actor was on a ladder focusing lights instead of being in rehearsal, then she had every right to tell him to go “be an actor right now,” especially since she is the one who is in charge of the build schedule- she should know how much time they’ll need to get the lights focused. HOWEVER, there is nothing wrong with actors switching over to do technical things (or technicians wanting to act sometimes!), so if he wants to help when he’s not in rehearsal, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to do that. 

It also sounds like you guys need to train/recruit/hire some more technicians- having one electrician/actor pulling double duty is an unsustainable model of theater production. What happens when he graduates? Or just doesn’t have time next semester to do the show? Then you’re up a creek without a paddle.

I don’t know if this is what you wanted to hear, but I hope it helped.



Our Theatre: From page to stage

The tradition of an annual Shakespeare production created with Southwark students began in 1997, the year the Globe Theatre opened. From 1997-2014 over 5,000 students performed in Our Theatre productions on the Globe stage.

PwC has supported Our Theatre every year since 1997 as part of its commitment to providing young people in Southwark with opportunities to develop their confidence and skills.

Reflecting on last week’s performance of Richard III in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Kate McGregor illuminates the process of taking students from Bacon’s College from page to stage.

As a director or actor going into the industry, you hope more than anything else, that you get to make theatre that has a purpose, to get the opportunity to be truly creative and inspire minds. Our Theatre is that project.

This final blog about Our Theatre is testimony to the success of this extraordinary project and the talent, dedication and resilience of the young people we are lucky enough to work with.

It’s true that the learning curve for the students involved in Our Theatre over 14 weeks of sessions can be profound. It’s also fair to say that the students probably learn as much in one day performing in the Sam Wanamaker playhouse as they do over the rest of the project.

And that is because being on stage at The Globe is just magic.

It is.

And it’s staggering how much of an impact this one final day can have, especially for those who’ve never performed before or even spoken in front of a crowd. The very act of having your voice heard and entertaining people has transformative properties. And having the opportunity to witness moments of this transformation as part of our job as Globe Education Practitioners is why we do it.

I suppose anyone reading this would wonder at how it’s possible to have such a dramatic effect on young minds. And, when it comes to theatre, there is no quantifiable answer. I’ve broken the day down into stages to give you an idea of happens behind the scenes and what feels like to be a part of it.  

The arrival

Today our students will act in the very first Richard III staged in the Playhouse. At 1pm our groups of students begin to arrive into the foyer at Shakespeare’s Globe. There’s a relief in the air that they got there on time. Then the usual apprehension begins, “where do we go now?”, “what will happen once we’re inside?”, “when will we get on stage?”, and “what will everyone else think of our piece?” As each group files in and takes their place in the auditorium, eyes dart about, pulses rise.

After a welcome fit for the influential storytellers they will today become, a full run through begins. And this is when the first flash of magic happens. One of my students leans over to me, “are those my sons?” she says, pointing at two other students playing the princes in the tower. She watches as they’re taken under the stage to meet their doom. “That’s so sad” she says. And as the students recognise the parts the other schools are playing as their own, an air of comparison is quickly replaced with the warmth of solidarity. They’re all telling the same story and they have that in common. For students from all over Southwark, who have never met each other before, this is unity in motion.

The first performance

They did it! They now know what it feels like to get through our show from beginning to end. Now is the time to bring it to life for an audience. This is what we’ve been building up to for 14 weeks.

All our students are taken down to a holding area directly beneath the Sam Wanamaker stage. A screen is projected onto the wall to show the students below what is happening above them, on stage. The first calls go out for students involved in the prologue and there’s a buzz in the room. This is it. As the play begins I point towards the screen, showing my group that one of their company is already on stage. There’s a moment of nervousness: can they really do this?

Backstage is normally (and should be) a place for quiet reflection but today, it’s a little different. As each school is given the nod to line up and enter the playhouse, the excitement is palpable as adrenaline levels rise. There are squeals of joy, gestures of nerves, there is chat – earnest talk of what can be improved, congratulations, laughter, and the regular sound of “shhhh” from the staff. Importantly, friendships being forged here. When my group are asked to line up, they’re off instantly, blazing a trail and leaving me tagging on behind. They were the most focused they’ve been in 14 weeks. I’ve never been a professional actor, I’ve never had to do what these young people are about to do. My admiration for them is overwhelming.

The first performance goes very well, almost for everyone involved. Each group emerges from the stage with glee and somehow they all seem a little bit taller.

Notes are given, students retire to their break out spaces to get some fresh air, to eat and relax. Then the time comes when it’s over to them and their teachers. For a director, it’s a tough moment when you realise there’s nothing more you can do. Since January we’ve been working with our students to create our production of Richard III and now, it’s completely up to them.

And for our final evening performance, this is when it happens: they do it all by themselves.

The final show

This bit is harder to describe. This is when magic takes over. They don’t just do what you’ve been wanting them to do. They achieve above and beyond that. Knowing it’s their last opportunity to do what they’ve been working on and having the confidence from the afternoon, they start really enjoying themselves. There are new moments of connection to the audience; students start looking more regularly to the upper galleries, a few spot parents or siblings and a light comes on, which lifts their performance. Those who were quiet in the afternoon suddenly find their voices, sections that were finding their feet earlier in the day now take flight. There are some small mistakes; trips over words or a minor delay coming on but no one stops or falters, even when a mobile phone goes off and a baby cries. They’re professionals now and they know it. And for once I wasn’t nervous watching my group on stage. I was proud.

At the end of the evening show there are a huge list of thank you’s, to the astounding amount of people who put their heart and soul into making this project happen from funders to banner designers, directors to co-ordinators, teachers to parents. It’s an experience of coming together that staggers the mind. It’s an emotional time for many people.

And then, so quickly, it’s over.

The aftermath

The students emerge from under the stage into the foyer, triumphant (and exhausted.) A man next to me finds his daughter and hugs her with surprising vigour, “you were so good” he says “I didn’t realise you would be so good”. It’s as if he’s seen her clearly for the first time. Feeling proud of yourself can be quite a tough thing for a young person growing up with all the stresses and pressures of life, school and simply finding out who they are. The opportunity to feel proud of something you’ve done and to make the people you love happy too, is hugely significant.

As a director working on Our Theatre the thing I hope more than anything else is that some of the magic from today trickles into the veins on our students and propels them to want to take on even bigger challenges in the future. Today they learnt that place, age or background does not define them and it is Shakespeare’s words that have given them the means to express themselves.

Find out more about Our Theatre and how we work with schools.

Images © Cesare De Giglio