Blackburn Youth Theatre was set up in October 1985 by Mr Timothy James Lince, the Artistic Director of Pendle Productions (A professional Theatre Company). In the last twenty four years we have grown in size and stature within the local community. The Youth Theatre is now led by Pendle Productions Artistic Director (Tim Lince) with associate Direction and session work by Professional Actors and Directors. Our vision of providing arts education for all who wish to take part is still our main aim and task. Over the last twenty four years the Youth Theatre has undertaken ground breaking work with time spent in recording Studios, Theatres around the County, partaking in a documentary for Cable T.V., making a full length Feature Film 'Lost', touring to Community Centres in the region as well as members taking part in once weekly workshop sessions.
We have had the pleasure of entertaining casting Directors from both the BBC and Granada and some of our past members have gone on to find work in the Entertainment Business. We have past members who are Producers for The BBC, Radio Presenters, Producers for independent T.V Companies such as Endermol, Doctors, Teachers as well as past members who can be seen as working Actors throughout the Country and on Television. There are also Youth Theatres in York , Ripon and the South Coast run by past members. At a last count we have at least 12 Drama Teachers who started at the Youth Theatre. Members have gone on to work for the Disney Corporation, and the current Chief Executive of the Thwaites Empire Theatre is a past member. Countless numbers of Youth Theatre Members have gone on to University and we pride ourselves on never giving up on those who go off the rails.
Our list of shows performed is to numerous to mention here, but some examples have included:- Epsom Downs, Peer Gynt, The Ubiquitous Diary of Jean Nobody (a world premiere), Girls Talk , Talent Nights, Runaway, Derek, On The Dump, Youth lies and Video, T.V. World, Operation Elvis, The Rainbow Coloured Disco Dancer, Skinny Spew, 100 year Centenary, Halloween Radio Spectacular (BBC Radio), A View from the Bridge, Whose Life it is Anyway and Some Enchanted Evening.
The Youth Theatre has always been co funded by Pendle Productions professional work, and over the last fourteen years has enjoyed financial support in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.
As we live in a multi media world, we believe it is important that the Young People of today have access and training in the various forms of technology that they will be expected to use within their working life.
To these ends we embarked on a film project and shot a feature film Lost which was screened around the town. Other Video Projects have included an Anti Drugs video, Interview and Presentation work and Youth Lies and Video which toured local youth clubs in Youth Lies and Video which was a multi media project about what really goes on in the mind of young people today. The project toured community centres (eg. Ivy Street and Accrington Road) as well as Darwen Library Theatre. This project was both invaluable for the people who watched it, many of whom had very little experience of live theatre, and also for the members of the Youth Theatre performing to and meeting afterwards the young people of these local communities.
We are also making use of the advances in Web & Multimedia to break theatre from its four walled constraints and take it out into the world for all to enjoy. We are able to do this with our virtual youth theatre - Youth Theatre Online. Read more about Youth Theatre Online
This year we will be embarking on a new tour of Operation Elvis which looks at a young boys relationship and mentoring of a severely disabled wheelchair bound young man who he meets whilst trying to escape his own trapped world of his mother and her serial boyfriends.
Since October 1985 we have provided Blackburn with a place for young people with an interest in performance to go. It has not always been easy, as the world is a changing place, and therefore the pressures on young people change to the society they live in. Our aim is to provide support, care and an open ear. Often the problems that manifest themselves can be sorted out with a quiet chat, but sometimes we need to bring other agencies in to help.
We are a first port of call, and can easily break down the barriers of age and discrimination. Although our work is of a performance kind, we sometimes feel that it is just a ruse to get Young people communicating and working together. The Social Benefit Of Youth Arts can never be measured or financially measured, it is only in the hearts and minds of those who have gained by being members and the wider community that they inter relate with.
We actively encourage the integration of Disabled members and have worked extensively with young people with learning disabilities within the group.
As well as taking part in productions the Youth Theatre Members are involved in weekly workshop sessions at the Thwaites Empire Theatre in Blackburn. These consist of master classes in Voice, Movement and Dance, Acting Techniques, Improvisation, Camera Technique, Recording Skills, Stage Direction and Writing. All Staff who run sessions are Professionally engaged and members of the Theatrical Union Equity, The Writers Guild of Great Britain and The Musicians Union.
Over the last few years the Youth Theatre Directors have also offered specialised training for all those who wish to gain entry to Drama School or University to study a performance related activity. This has increased the number of entry places gained by Youth Theatre Members substantially.
Blackburn Youth Theatre are members of the National Association of Youth Theatres and the Youth Circus Forum. All our Staff have CRB Checks and all our equipment used undergoes thorough weekly safety checks (As is industry Standard) as well as annual Pat Testing and Stress Testing where required. In addition the Youth Theatre has a EVA safety floor available when required.
The Youth Theatre's professional staff are aided by both male and female Volunteers (who are CRB Cleared)
It is now 24 years since the Youth Theatre was set up and with the help we receive from Pendle Productions, it's staff and financial help from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council I am sure that we will continue to provide a high quality Youth Theatre that runs 46 weeks a year within the town for the next generation as well.
Blackburn Youth Theatre