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!

Twelfth Night at Theatre Severn

Another year brought about another exciting opportunity to perform and for the last six months SYT Seniors have been rehearsing for their production of Twelfth Night which show-cased in Theatre Severn on April 22nd and 23rd.

The cast began rehearsals back in October and it was clear from the start that each and every member was loving the role they’d been given. The Christmas holidays meant line-learning time and when rehearsals began again in January some incredible characters began to emerge.

RB.SYT Twelfth Night 21.04.2016  68Each year the cast perform to the best of their ability and Twelfth Night was no exception. Krishan Jones gave Duke Orsino an instantly handsome and regal stature, with a voice to match. Chris Eldon Lee attended the dress rehearsal night and wrote that
There were moments at Shropshire Youth Theatre’s dress rehearsal of ‘Twelfth Night’ when I felt I could almost have been in Stratford.” The review goes on to mention cast members and their beautifully developed characters which came to life even further during the show-nights on Friday and Saturday.

 

RB.SYT Twelfth Night 21.04.2016  239The experience is one which I am sure we will all remember and I myself love every show I perform in with SYT. It’s sad to see it over but I enjoyed every minute of performing with such incredible people. I know none of us can wait until we start rehearsals for next Year’s Performance of The Importance of Being Earnest.

A HUGE “thank you” to everyone who made this years show so special! To name a few: Maggie Love, Lisa Morris, Andrew Bannerman, Beverley Baker, Paul Saunders, Peter Cann and many more.

 

“Well that’s all one, our play is done,

and we’ll strive to please you every day.”

RB.SYT Twelfth Night 21.04.2016  253

Fordhall Farm

On Sunday, April 10th members of SYT Juniors headed down to Fordhall Farm where they performed scenes from well-known Shakespeare plays.SYT MSND As well as a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream the cast also performed scenes from Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing. Members of the public who attended the event enjoyed watching the scenes unfold and SYT Juniors loved taking part in the day.

The Big Busk

Members of SYT took to the streets today to show their support for The Big Busk and Shrewsbury Ark. Annabel Love played guitar while other members of the company handed out flyers in order to promote the up-coming show Twelfth Night.

Twelfth Night is going to be performed at the Walker Theatre, Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury on 22nd-23rd April at 7.30 pm. Tickets are £14 full and £10 concession. Don’t miss out!

Walford Spring Lambing Day

With just one month to go until SYT’s production of Twelfth Night, the Seniors travelled to Walford College for their Spring Lambing Day on Sunday, March 20th and rehearsed a few scenes from the play.

Viola and Olivia

Viola and Olivia

When visitors to the open day entered the Walled Garden – a beautiful setting for Twelfth Night – they were greeted with the sweet sounds of Shakespearean dialect and scenes from the performance. The student actors were dressed in Persian themed outfits – thanks to Beverly Baker – which beautifully matched the group’s twist on the play.

Although not all the cast were able to attend, those who did had an enjoyable day out and even got a chance to feed some baby goats and see other animals at the college.

Overall the cast enjoyed the day and got a chance to further rehearse scenes from the show.