23 August 2018
Our August Member Spotlight is dedicated to London Youth member Lewisham Youth Theatre (LYT). We speak to LYT Members’ Committee about their past and current projects, future plans and their passion for youth work.
Q: How many young people do you work with?
A: LYT currently works with over 200 young people aged 8-24 per year in sustained youth arts activities, and reaches on average another 500 through our outreach activities.
We want to put our participants’ voices at the centre of all we do. Our Members’ Committee (youth leadership board) is made up of about 25 participants aged 12+ who have taken part in a production with LYT. They consult on the running of the youth theatre, plan projects and volunteer across our activities. We caught up with LYT’s Members’ Committee during one of their summer sessions to help plan the themes that LYT will focus on next year. We asked them about their role and what they’re excited about for the next year.
Q: What is LYT’s Members’ Committee?
A: LYT’s Member’s Committee is a group in which young people that have been involved in projects or the Youth Theatre in the past come together and help to organise and plan upcoming events. It is also a chance for us to express our opinions about LYT and expand on them to perhaps make changes in the Theatre.
A: We’re sort of like a school council but for Lewisham Youth Theatre. We get to give our input about what we want to see at the youth theatre, improvements we’d like and things we have enjoyed throughout the year – whether that’s projects, participating, being able to help out. And things that we’d like to plan. We plan events, like the Christmas Event and incorporating other youth theatres as well.
Q: How did you get involved in LYT?
A: Everyone at LYT has different ways that they got involved, but for me: I was very shy in secondary school. When I started doing drama and they saw how much it boosted my confidence, my drama teacher recommended that I come to LYT. It was not far from the school, which made it handy. The first project I did was the Bronze Arts Award and I really enjoyed it, made loads of friends, and I still have my Arts Award to take to interviews.
A: In mid-May 2017 at school, an LYT leader presented to us an acting workshop in which we participated in activities that provided a taster of the skills needed onstage. A few days later the leader introduced to us LYT’s Young Touring Company that gave a fantastic performance, inviting us to come along to the taster session in a few weeks. A lot of students from our drama class went to the taster session and we enjoyed getting a feel of the different skills and attitudes needed to work onstage as an actor. The majority of the people participating in the session returned the next week to continue the exciting programme and explore new opportunities to come, such as the Member’s Committee.
Q: What are the best thing about being involved in LYT’s Members’ Committee?
A: Being involved in LYT’s Member’s Committee, allows us to have an insight into the professional side of the Youth Theatre. It enables us to practice our planning and organisation skills, and get used to the professional atmosphere. For example, every week there is a different person asked to be a chair to lead the meeting, giving young people the chance to experience a more complex role.
A: For me, the best thing about being involved in Members’ Committee is organising events and choosing the events. We get to choose – as LYT – what we see and do. And we get to see other people’s shows that are all over London.
A: The best thing for me about being involved in LYT’s Members Committee is that – although I’ve gone on to college now at the BRIT School, and I haven’t had very much time to participate on projects, I’ve still be able to be involved and have my say through this.
Q: What’s been the most exciting thing you’ve done this year as part of the Committee?
A: One of the most exciting events that the Member’s Committee planned and held was called ‘Opening Doors’ which was when a range of people from the theatre industry came and gave us an insight into the world of theatre. For example, we were given advice and knowledge from Actors, a Stage manager, a Prop maker, a Head of casting, a Director, a Corporate Trainer and Executive Coach. The event provided a lot of excitement for the members and also for the under-25s public audience invited by the Member’s Committee. The event lasted around an hour, with many questions asked and a lot of information gained.
A: Going to see Black Panther [for free] was the best thing. We got free tickets because [actress] Jade Anouka did the panel discussion we planned in the Studio. And she paid for us.
A: The most exciting thing I’ve done, was, I did a speech as part of the Annual Review of the Year. It was kind of the first thing I did with the Committee. It was very fun because I was in front of this massive audience, and I could really feel what it felt like to present things. And that was really exciting for me because I had to prep a whole speech.
Q: How are you currently involved with London Youth?
A: LYT received a Gold-Level London Youth Quality Mark in 2015. We have re-accredited at Bronze-level this year, and are in the process of re-accrediting at Silver and Gold. We’re keen to take part in more of London Youth’s programmes and networks, so we’re currently looking at how we can be involved in and support London Youth’s Young Culture Makers programme.
Q: What are you excited about doing with LYT next year?
A: There are a lot of exciting things happening next year in LYT and the members’ committee. There a lot of opportunities surrounding the project we will be involved with at City Hall, also hopefully giving us a chance to work with other people outside of LYT. We will also be organising the Annual Review of the Year, which will be interesting and exciting.
A: I’m excited about planning the scripts and coming up with ideas for the little ones (Junior Youth Theatre, 8-11s group) and then getting to see it get put together and performed.
A: I’m excited about helping a front of house at LYT performances, and getting to support the youngers with their shows. And also giving people flyers and getting new young people to become members and join LYT.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d offer to young people in London?
A: It’s worth joining something like LYT. You gain so many skills, you can gain qualifications. You might join at a younger age – maybe even 8 – and if you stay involved, it can help you in the future when you come to look at jobs, stuff like that.
A: Find something that you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be drama, it could be anything. Just find something. Instead of being on the streets, because that’s not going to help you in life.
A: Don’t be afraid to reach out and experience new things that may be out of your comfort zone. Do something that scares you occasionally, and don’t be afraid of embarrassing yourself.
If you’re a London Youth member and would like to be featured as part of our Member Spotlight, please email firstname.lastname@example.org