Young stars at Wimbledon Youth Theatre staged their maiden musical in their enactment of the American production Bat Boy in the summer of 2013. Although it was the first time the troupe had performed musical theatre, it was something they had wanted to do for some time.
As well as having never performed in a musical, nearly half of the young people involved in Bat Boy had never acted before. With the support of a Jack Petchey Foundation Small Grant, the theatre was able to hire a specialist choreographer to work with the group of 14-18 year olds.
Learning and Development Officer Kate McGregor said, “None of our young people were highly skilled in areas of dance or physical theatre, and we felt that the assistance of a professional choreographer would be a big asset in the development of what was a really exciting project.
The choreographer did a lot to develop many of the young people’s self-esteem, and enabled them to present a professional looking show. They were really proud of themselves and felt a great sense of achievement.”
Bat Boy tells the story of a half-bat, half-boy protagonist who, after growing up in a cave, is discovered by three teenage caving enthusiasts in West Virginia. After becoming known to the townsfolk, the Bat Boy’s life changes dramatically. He is brought into town by the Sheriff and taught to act like a ‘normal’ boy by the towns vet. But the townsfolk eventually turn on him after he runs away with the veterinarian’s daughter Shelley, and the secret of his origin is revealed.
WCTT Youth Theatre works with a wide range of young people, including those from Special Educational Needs schools, from across South West London. The musical was designed to bring participants together in a fun, energised capacity, whilst enriching their performing arts skills and knowledge.
The head teacher for Merton said, “This show was incredible. It was amazing to see our SEN students look so confident in front of an audience.”
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