In 2013, the Theatre Royal at Stratford re-established its Young People’s Committee, and drafted new ideas and plans to involve more young people from East London in the dramatic arts. The reformation of the committee, which dispersed after several of its members moved on to university, was supported by a Jack Petchey Foundation Small Grant.
Committee member, Darien Charles, 21, said, “The committee is now at its strongest point, and we are brimming with ideas and plans for the future. We have a much better structure than before, and the committee is full of proactive people working together.”
In the summer of 2013, the committee held a drive to encourage more young people to take up an interest in theatre and the different opportunities it has to offer. Newham has one of the lowest arts participation rates in the UK, and Stratford East aims to change this.
Project manager Karlos Coleman said, “Theatre Royal Stratford East aims to reach the young people who would otherwise slip through the net and not have a voice in our community.”
In March 2013, the committee staged a two day poetry event called Poets Platform, a theatrical experience that encouraged young people of the borough to voice their opinions through the medium of poetry. Themes of equality and diversity featured heavily to create a manifesto unlike any you might have come across before. Ultimately Poets Platform, and Poets Manifesto, the broader programme, encourages young people to get involved in politics, their local community and get creative. The poets received glowing reviews from across London, and the theatre hopes to hold more shows in the future.
The Young People’s Committee is also teaming up with other theatrical youth groups to show how beneficial and exciting being involved in the theatre can be. 22 year old Jacqui Adeniji-Williams said, “We are trying to bridge the gap between young people and the theatre. Often the youth have a negative impression of dramatic arts, but we are challenging this idea!”
To find out more about Theatre Royal East and the Poets Manifesto, visit www.stratfordeast.com
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