SYT Presents: Much Ado About Nothing

On March 28th and 29th 2018 SYT will be performing Shakespeare’s sparkling
battle-of- the-sexes comedy; a story of trickery, treachery and, ultimately, true love in the Walker Theatre at Theatre Severn.

Friendship is constant in all other things,
Save in the office and affairs of love.

To toast Don Pedro’s triumph in battle, Leonato, the Governor of Messina, throws a
masquerade ball where well-intentioned plots and evil schemes abound as enemies
deceive lovers and friends trick friends. Locked together in a ‘merry war’ Benedick, a
confirmed bachelor and Beatrice, an avowed maid are resolutely set against marriage.
However their friends have a plan. Their ‘will-they- won’t-they’ relationship is one of
Shakespeare’s funniest and most famous love stories.

They never meet but there’s a skirmish of wit between them!

This lively comedy has one of Shakespeare’s most famous and funniest warring couples
that will keep you guessing about their relationship until the very end! Will Benedick and
Beatrice ever get together? Can Dogberry’s comically incompetent Watchmen save the
day? Will the evil plots be scuppered and true love win out in the end?
Performed by some of Shropshire’s finest young actors, their talent and execution of
Shakespeare will astonish you.
A few quotes from reviews of our previous shows:-
‘There were moments at Shropshire Youth Theatre’s dress rehearsal of ‘Twelfth Night’
when I felt I could almost have been in Stratford.’
‘It was an uplifting experience. As, indeed, was the entire evening. Shakespeare is in safe
hands for at least another generation. ‘
‘The whole show last night was elegantly played at a cracking pace in front of a heartily
amused full house. ‘

Here’s to the 25th year in production!

Tickets available here!

Lilly and Finn

“Who was is that said ‘The truth is rarely pure and never simple.’?”

Well, we can answer that quite simply.

SYT members were excited to watch the conclusion of the most recent season of Sherlock as it brought quotes from Oscar Wilde’s famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest to the television screens of 5.9 million viewers. During the episode, Mycroft Holmes quotes the play by asking who said the quote: “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” Later, John Watson answers by telling him it was Oscar Wilde in the Importance of Being Earnest and Mycroft explains that he played Lady Bracknell in a performance that he was in at school. The line quoted by Mycroft is said by Algernon and comes from Act 1 of the play after Jack confesses he is one partial to Bunburying, an act that Algernon has invented as a useful way to get out of spending time with his aunt Augusta – Lady Bracknell. While inserting the quote may have been an innocent reference to a well-known play, it is also possible that the writers – Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss – were motioning towards the fact that Wilde met Arthur Conan Doyle in 1889 at a dinner party. Some even speculate that Wilde influenced Doyle’s following novels about Sherlock Holmes. During Act 1 we see Jack spend his time at Algernon’s flat in London which is much like the relationship shared between John Watson and Sherlock Holmes in the final season. The Final Problem also brings references to John and Sherlock’s friendship being similar to that of Jack and Algy. In 1895 The Importance of Being Earnest was first performed in the St. James’s Theatre in London and on April 5th and 6th 2017 SYT are proud to be performing the well-known play.

 

Pictured here is SYT’s Algernon (Sammy Jones) and Jack (Krishan Jones) comically portraying the BBC’s Sherlock and John. The height difference in our characters is much like that seen between Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

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Back to Work

Christmas. A time to spend relaxing with family over the festive season. However, with their next performance just around the corner, SYT seniors were sent away with the challenge of being ‘off book’ by the new years. When January rolled around we began running through the play from page one and without books in hand we were able to start adding movement to the scenes. Characters became people and not just names on the page and now, three weeks into the term it’s not just the directors that are starting to see the play coming along. Students who will be performing with us for the first time this year are beginning to see how a play comes together and with less than eleven weeks until performance we’re all excited to see what students old and new can bring to this year’s performance.

Tickets are now on sale for The Importance of Being Earnest and can be purchased through the Theatre Severn box office (01743 281281) or online

Rehearsals Underway!

After deciding that our next production would be The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde cast returned from their summer holidays and began preparing for audition night. September 29th brought about a nerve-racking night for all. While an SYT challenge took place in the main hall, one-by-one, each cast member presented themselves to our board of directors in order to express interest in a role in our next play. Despite the nerves, students presented some incredible auditions and the production team were – for another year – very impressed.

Within a week a cast list had been written. This in itself was an impressive feat considering it often takes a few weeks for a final list to be decided upon. It didn’t take long for students to become increasingly excited about what the next performance might become. We could all see that the roles which were being handed out perfectly fitted our cast.

Rehearsals began almost immeditely and now, three weeks in, it is clear to see that students are starting to develop some beautiful and complex characters. As well as our main production – being performed at the Theatre Severn on the 5th and 6th of April -.we are also planning on recording clips for a short film. All going well the film will include the understudies to the main cast and will give students an opportuniy to develop new skills.

SYT Summer School Presents…

In The Shadows Dark and Grimm took place this summer at The Hive in Shrewsbury. 8 young people, including three now new members to SYT joined workshop leader Lisa Morris and senior volunteer Chloe Townend for 3 and a half days of intensive creativity and tuition in shadow puppetry and performance.

The students used over-head projectors, stage lamps and torches, played against three sheets hung from The Hive rig, to create exciting and beautiful images based on the original fairy tales by The Brother’s Grimm. We discovered that these tales were somewhat darker than their common Disney and modern day interpretations, and so we used recorded music, live percussive sounds and Foley art to create our performance; a collection of scenes and images of some of the most iconic, darkest moments from Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, and Little Red Cap (Red Riding Hood).

Students delved right into the workshop, with material and ideas being created right up to the performance. We all discovered that the only limitation when working in shadow is your imagination, and there were lots of very ingenious uses of simple shapes, coloured gels and movement that, though seemingly quite basic in their execution, produced some wonderful scenes and some really exciting new ways of framing the space.

Our performers also demonstrated some real responsibility towards the work, with students becoming experts in lighting tricks, some fantastic musical arrangements and a couple of beautiful movement experts. Our group talents combined, and our desire to create excellent work overriding our preciousness towards the material, guaranteed our project was a huge success, and gave us a rewarding experience akin to working with a group of professional adults. Truth be told, it was one of the most exhilarating and creative experiences in a rehearsal space any of us had been involved in.

A big thank you goes to Maddy Page, who joined us on the last day to document the work, and to the friends and family who came to support us. We had a fantastic audience of all ages, and species (our first SYT show played to a dog!), and we look forward to next year’s summer school.

If you are interested in booking a shadow puppetry workshop for your school or community organisation, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can tailor workshops to areas of the curriculum, or to community projects you are involved with.

Shrewsbury Food Festival

SYT Seniors will be preforming improv scenes with the theme of ‘Tea Party’ during the Shrewsbury Food Festival this weekend in the Quarry! They will also be demonstrating some stage combat during the two days and will be joined with SYT Juniors on Saturday morning. The weekend looks like it’s going to be a fun and exciting time for all and one which both groups are looking forward to!

AGM

Last week brought about SYT’s annual general meeting (AGM) where we reviewed the year and elected new committee members. With Yasmin Reynolds stepping down from the chair position this brought about the opportunity for a new chair to be elected and while a few committee members went for the role, Maddy Page walked away as our new chair. Once a new chair had been elected we had space for a new general member and after the students’ votes were counted Abbie Townend was elected onto the committee. The night concluded with a selection of games and improvisation scenes.

Shrewsbury Kids Fest

As well as all the fun of the theatre at Twelfth Night production week, SYT juniors joined in the fun with their own Shakespeare performances at Shrewsbury Kids Festival in the Quarry park on Saturday April 23rd. We arrived at the venue at 9.15 – an early start, especially for those who sold programmes at the theatre the night before! During an incredibly busy morning we performed twice, and were lucky to be able to take over the small entertainment stage for our final show. In comparison to our performance at Fordhall Farm, the Kids fest was an incredibly loud venue, and the Quarry was packed with people from the time the gates opened to our finish time at 1.30 and beyond. But we helped out entertaining the crowds, and were particularly thankful to all the parents who stayed with us to help Lisa lead the session while Maggie was in town coordinating the Shakespeare celebrations. There was plenty of time for students to have some fun at the festival – so slushies were slurped, cookies consumed and bouncy castles bounded over! We also got to spend time with our friends at The Fetch Theatre (who made the puppets for our production of Caucasian Chalk Circle 5 years ago), with their new show ‘Clapper Box’. It’s a brilliant piece of interactive puppetry with recorded audio tracks, so if you get a chance to see it, please have a go!