New theatre project is crowdfunding to train young performers and run free workshops in primary schools
A NEW theatre project aims to help young actors learn the trade for free while running interactive performances in primary schools.
Portsmouth-based performing arts school Theatre Arts is crowdfunding its new project Starburst Performers so young performers can further develop their skills while their lives and careers are put on hold by the pandemic.
Directors Verity McCormick and Liz Donnelly have been designing this project throughout lockdown to train up young people aged 18 to 25 to help deliver performances and workshops with PSHE themes to primary school pupils.
Verity, from Emsworth, was concerned about the impact of the pandemic on the arts industry which partly inspired the idea.
She said: ‘It has kind of decimated our industry really. I kept bumping into ex-students and it was really sad because they were waiting to go to university or trying to find work.
‘We find the arts is a wonderful thing but it’s not cheap to train so we just want to make it accessible. We would hope to take it into schools for no charge and the young people wouldn’t have to pay to do it.
‘We spoke to headteachers about the ideas and the research we did over lockdown and they loved the idea of it all. I’m fully aware of the limited funding they have for anything, so we could do something that would help.’
The shows, written by Milton resident Liz Donnelly, explore themes including mental health and wellbeing, relationships and more.
They will be performed outdoors on playing fields and playgrounds, with professional costumes and production.
Verity said: ‘It gives young people the experience that isn’t out there at the moment and to cut their teeth with us and learn the technical knowledge behind shows.
‘We both just love the positive things that people get out of being part of a project.’
To get the project off the ground, Verity and Liz are hoping to fundraise £5,000.
Verity said: ‘We fully appreciate people don’t have the extra pennies at the moment but anything they can possibly spare will help to give children and young people opportunities they wouldn’t normally have.
‘It’s just to create some positive change and help children and young people in the process.’